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Category “User Experience”

There is no love in User Experience Design

No love in User Experience Design

@sis

You stand back, fold your arms and feel good. You’ve completed your design and you want to pat yourself on the back and show the world what you’ve created. Unfortunately, you’ve done the one thing you shouldn’t do as a good user experience designer and that’s fall in love with your idea.

We are no longer in a market where we can afford ourselves time to perfect a product, to wait a year before something goes out to our users. We can look to the mobile channel to appreciate how fast things are changing, within a year, material design took shape and really disrupted a lot of thinking and behaviors for apps and overall usability. Choices in your design that were made a year ago may be no longer relevant.

The trick? Keep your idea non-committed and as lean as possible. The more time you spend on an idea without consulting your users, the more you’ll fall in love with it. This is not a new concept, but something we need to keep in mind as user experience designers. If you take too much time on your idea, the market will change and your best guess is just that. All you can do at that point is hope that your guess was right.

So what do you do? How can you make sure that your prototype starts out on the right path? Be sure to align your stakeholders and user stories as soon as possible. A lot of companies claim to be user-centered, but in reality, most businesses have a need or an idea that they feel passionate about and they will spend countless hours debating it. When they finally decide on a direction, they ramp up a team and build it. Most of the time, this process can be long and drawn out with new ideas and scope creep finding its way into a project and all along the way they never asked or consulted with their customers. By the time the product reaches the market, their customers may have changed their behaviors because the world around them never stopped.

But you might argue, “Prototypes, research and usability tests? Those are always so expensive.” Not so. Create a process where you can afford to fail in the cheapest way possible in the shortest amount of time. You must allow yourself to move quickly and fail often while learning along the way. Post-It notes and a pencil are a User Experience designers best friend. Keep your designs simple, without design flair and be sure of what goals you are trying to reach. Doing so will keep your prototype focused and free of unnecessary features. It will give you the opportunity to get into testing right away. Keep in mind, once you get to a point where Post-It notes cannot communicate the idea, then you’ll need to move into a more interactive prototype. This still can be done efficiently with tools like Axure, Balsamiq or straight up HTML.

As User Experience designers, we love what we do. There’s great satisfaction in stepping back and knowing you had a hand in building something that accomplishes a goal or helps a customer, but remember, never fall in love with your designs.

7 Thoughts on Mobile Design and Marketing

Mobile marketing is becoming important as more consumers use tablets and smartphones.

How are you preparing for the increase in tablet and smartphone usage?

The use of mobile devices is going to impact how your target visitors interact with your Web properties and Web content. Businesses and organizations that want to get the most out of their websites are going to need to evolve in order to stay relevant for the modern Web browsing person.

Here are seven thoughts to have as we head into the future of mobile Web browsing:

1. Consider Responsive Design for Various Devices

Responsive design allows you to have one Website that adjusts dimensions for various devices and screen sizes. Basically the site takes longer to setup originally with coding and design, but will save you time in the long run from having to manage multiple sites for multiple devices. A responsive site will adjust the elements on the page to make it a better experience for big screens and small screens. It’s a basic idea that can benefit any website.

2. Think Finger Taps Instead of Mouse Clicks

Have you ever struggled to tap a button on a website when browsing on your smartphone? It can be extremely frustrating. Make sure to consider this when working on your future website and even items like emails.

3. Scrolling Can Be Horizontal and Vertical

Horizontal scrolling is a pain on a desktop. It’s strange for most folks to scroll that way with their mouse or mouse pad. But it’s easier and more common on a phone. There are new opportunities to stand out and be different with horizontal scrolling so don’t be afraid to experiment.

4. Video is in Demand

Video is popular on the desktop and will remain popular with mobile users. Marketers should focus on the importance of using video on websites in the future. Mobile connections will only improve so don’t be afraid of losing interest just because people aren’t at home. It can actually be easier to comprehend a message in video form when you’re on the go as opposed to reading it.

5. The Intersection of Written Text and Design Remains Important

It has always been important for written text to blend well with design. Newspapers and magazines have always found a balance so that reading is an enjoyable experience. The same has been true of website design. As mobile devices become more popular it’s important to keep the text on your websites easy to read and understand. One general rule of thumb is that shorter headlines are better on mobile devices. Also make sure your text is large enough to read, but not obnoxiously large so it doesn’t turn people away.

6. Avoid Too Much Clutter and Distraction

With change always comes opportunity, but the danger with new opportunities is the feeling that we must do everything. Something that should never change is your focus and your goals for your website. Most businesses and organizations do not need a mobile site with all the features available. A simple site with basic yet valuable information that converts visitors is still the best course of action for most. Have your conversion goals as the leading factors for any website change. You can make your site easy to navigate on a mobile site, but don’t make it distracting. Make it simple so visitors can make the decisions you want them to make when they are on your site.

7. Leave Room for Change

Most business owners and website managers understand that websites are no longer static entities. The desktop revolution happened. Today there is a mixture of desktop Web browsing and mobile browsing. In the future it appears as if the world will be viewing the Web more on their mobile devices – tablets and phones. The devices are changing rapidly. The best step you can take today is to change your mindset that you’ll have to leave your site open for change in the future. A Website design is never complete. Think about the entire design as a process that is changing and evolving as browsing habits change.

Bonus: Consider the Context of Mobile Device Usage

Marketers would be wise to think about the settings where people use their mobile devices. Desktops limit people to offices or rooms at their homes. Laptops helped some and got people into coffee shops, but mobile devices allow people to go anywhere (even if they still just sit on the couch at home). Consider the context of a person using a mobile device. If you can figure out what triggers a person browsing their phone while riding the bus to make a purchase you can see your marketing go to another level of success.