Last time we profiled graphic designers - they’re the people who focus on the aesthetic or visual side of web or mobile design. This time we’re delving into the world of the User Experience or UX Designer.
They determine how effectively the user’s experience matches their need. With product reviews now a common part of the purchasing process for technology and related products, it’s important that the user experience is carefully planned and perfected before being released to the market. Users generally don’t have much patience or sympathy when they encounter a frustrating or disappointing experience and with user forums and social media they are able to share their thoughts far and wide. It’s hard to come back from a poor market consensus – much easier to get it right first time.
There may be a range of possibilities to a particular problem or need so they try to find an optimal resolution that best suits the target audience. It’s likely that they will engage in a lot of research and testing to refine their flow and processes involved. For example, if the end product is a new website the UX designer will identify the user interface specifications in the brief and create a model with a set of task flows. They will understand in detail how the website owner wants the user to interact with the website and what scenarios might occur.
Taking the website example, is the user expected to find information or products to buy online immediately, or to request further information or a demonstration and engage in a longer sales cycle? Is there a logical flow that takes the user from end to end? Can they find what they need quickly and do they understand how to progress? Can the user help themselves to resolve any queries or problems? All these factors measure how well the website is performing its job.
The UX designer will use design tools such as Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign to create wireframes of screens, storyboards and a sitemap that can be tested against the user profile and tweaked until the overall experience is tight and intuitive.
User behaviour should be periodically reviewed and any potential refinements identified and implemented. The smallest of changes can result in a few percent uplift in conversions. Continually tweaking a site to improve conversions ultimately means more sales for the site owner.