User Experience Design: more than just aesthetics

User Experience Design

User Experience or UX (User Experience) is a term that has gained value in recent decades. However, its functions and objectives can be observed throughout history. In the early 1900s, Frederick Winslow Taylor conducted research to understand how workers and their tools interacted to improve workspaces and thereby optimize production.

In 1940, Toyota joined this movement in which production systems were based on respect for people and the optimization of workspaces, this time focused on the well-being of its workers. Later in history, Henry Dreyfuss, who, with his design philosophy based on common sense and a scientific approach, sought to improve usability and his book “Designing for People” describes the bases of UX.

So as you can see, we can find important cases throughout history. In 1990, we find Donald Norman, the first person to officially obtain the title of "User Experience Architect". He himself later coined the term "User Experience Design", a term that seeks to encompass everything that UX entails.

But what is UX?

User Experience (UX) is a somewhat abstract term, with a lot of features and variations. It is a multidisciplinary area that includes elements of interaction design, psychology, information architecture, usability, HCI (Human Computer Interaction), visual design, among many others. This process seeks to create products that provide a relevant and meaningful user experience.

A study by the Oxford Journal, ¨Interacting with Computers¨, denoted: "The objective of User Experience Design is to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, through usability, usefulness and the pleasure obtained while interacting with the product."

Don Normand also stated: "No product is an Island. A product is more than that. It is a set of coherent and integrated experiences in which all stages of the product or service were thought of - from the initial intentions to the final reflections – from the first use, up to the support services and maintenance, making them work together at the same time towards perfection".

The products that generate a great experience are those that not only focus on the use, but also those that integrate the different stages: from how the product is acquired, to the way in which any inconvenience or doubt is handled during its use.

When we talk about UX Design, we are not only referring to usable products, but to the experience users have. The capacity to make users smile, products that are efficient and pleasant. And, above all, creating a product that is capable of satisfying the user's needs in a specific context.

Why, what, and how?

These 3 questions seem quite simple, but in reality, they are the basis on which any product or process should planned and executed.

The why tells us about the motivation, the need, or the pain that the user is experiencing. It allows us to discover the values and points of view that are held regarding the task to be performed.

The ¨what¨ refers to functionality, what the user can do with the product. It also helps us understand the characteristics that the product must have.

Finally, the how refers to the design of the functions from a perspective of accessibility, aesthetics, and satisfaction.

Design with the user in mind

When we create products for people, we must design with them in mind. We must not only understand their needs, we need to understand their limitations, as well as the cultural and social context in which the product will be used.

UX processes tend to vary, but one constant is user research, the creation of user archetypes that allow us to empathize and understand them. The creation of Wireframes and prototypes that allow us to validate designs and solutions with real users, allowing us to dynamically and interactively create solutions that respond to the real needs of users.

UX is not an expense

Although this discipline is fundamental for the creation of products, on many occasions we are faced with the question: what is the return on investment that I will have when investing in a UX process?

Investing in UX processes translates in a very simplified way into savings in terms of time and costs. Specifically, when we create experiences for our users, this translates into: increased profits, higher customer retention, increased productivity, decreased technical support costs, reduced costs and time developing products.

50% of the time a developer spends reworking a solution is avoidable if a testing and prototyping process is generated before development begins.

According to IBM, for every $ 10 USD invested in improving our customers' experience, there is a return of $ 100 USD.

Here are some examples of how large companies have implemented UX methodologies and have had excellent results:

UX is more than an aesthetic approach, UX is a holistic approach and a strategic plan that seeks to create a vision and a plan to delight the user and deliver tangible results to the business.

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