As most businesses do trade on digital platforms, user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) designs become crucial because they can guarantee the smoothest and most impressive presentation of products and services through digital channels like offline presentation by staff.
Although the design is important, many businesses have just started their transformation. Recently they developed digital channels for sales and services and thus may still be unfamiliar with the new channels or unable to apply them properly to reach goals. Therefore, I would like to recommend basic principles on the successful application of UX/UI. User experience designs for products and services in the digital world break down into 4 parts:
- Information design – It refers to the presentation of information through pictures and texts in order of priority to make it easiest for users to understand
- User interface design – It must emphasize layouts, colors and shapes to create the best displays on screens to reach business goals.
- Interaction design – It includes the locations of buttons and output/animation mechanisms to create the Call to Action to ensure that customers will react as planned or expected business outcomes are produced.
- Emotional and engagement design – It creates the experiences of smooth and easy use. This includes simplified steps to impress users and bring them back over and over.
Obviously user experience (UX) design concerns not only beauty but also the presentation of products and services to target groups for the maximal benefits of businesses. For example, it can help salespersons increase and speed up sales, reduce problems about usage and issues reaching call centers, provide partners with the convenient use of data from customer relationship management and workforce management systems and make information conveyed by reporting tools easy to understand.
The best UX/UI design for businesses requires 3 elements – Right Problem, Right Solution and Right Execution.
It is the first and foremost step. It begins with two questions: “What problem is being solved?” and “Whose problem is being solved?” However, the UX design process should start with knowing which group of users a product targets. If the answer is unclear, there should be interviews about the demand and feelings of the customers who use a product. The biggest mistake in the process to identify problems is the assumption that the problems of producers and customers are the same and it is unnecessary to carry out product trials or conduct a survey on target users. This leads to huge problems. For example, users may not use features developed by business organizations and it is a waste of time, human resources and money that businesses used for the development. Therefore, it is necessary to collect in-depth information about user personas to know who are customers and how they use a product or service (customer journey).
After there is clear information about users, the next step is to find out what prevents customers from buying. For example, the appearance of an app may be unattractive and thus obstruct sales. Otherwise, a system does not facilitate staff’s communications because customers are required to input information at many steps. If you are unsure how you should pose questions or whether your questions are right, you can adopt these 2 solutions.
- User interviews – Interviewed users give various perspectives. User interviews can reveal the most common problem that users face. One-on-one interviews lead to in-depth information.
- Trial –Models can be introduced for trial to understand “customer journey” through observed use. This will find out where problems occur and why there are unexpected user experiences. For better outcomes, there may be experimental trials which can include variables and impartial observation.
During design, there must be evaluations to determine right solutions to the problems of an organization. The identification of right solutions can be based on customers’ demand and identified problems. There must also be the estimation of the time that customers will actually use. A platform for product sales should systematically compile statistics and show the data in a simple form to facilitate the work of staff.
Besides, designs should be flexible and adjustable to meet customers’ demand. For example, they can change to reflect corporate identities, meet some conditions of customers and suit the characteristics of individual businesses which may need to offer specific user experiences different from general user experiences. Design has 5 following goals:
- Development of new products to satisfy unmet needs and create new business opportunities
- More features or functions to make existing products increasingly serve users’ demand
- Redesign of workflows, features and use in case that old designs blocked the achievement of business goals because, for example, they failed to convince customers to buy, customers stopped their use of applications and thus revenue from service fees, or system maintenance was costly
- Design changes to respond to technological changes – because, for example, old designs are incompatible with the new versions of operating systems
- Greater user experiences to reach business goals including the increased sales of new products, easy use and faster operation.
The last element is to apply designs to procedures so that organizations can achieve expected outcomes. The key factor that indicates if design helps solve problems is usability which can be evaluated with these 5 criteria:
- Learnability – use without having to read instructions
- Efficiency – expected outcomes achieved quickly and smoothly
- Memorability – no need for repeated learning before reuse
- Error – no errors while in use. Even if there are errors, users can easily fix them.
- Satisfaction – Texts were arranged for easy reading and are in eye-comfort colors.
Usability testing can be done with these steps.
- Prototype creation to test a conceptual design. A prototype can be a demo application.
- Testing plans – This must answer 2 key questions as to what will be tested and what is the evaluation method. Questions can be posed about a product. Otherwise, a situation can be created and test users are assigned to solve problems through a system.
- Test users use a product as planned. There can be a workshop at a venue of real use or a virtual workshop where test users turn on their cameras during testing. Before such a test, participants should be informed of test objectives and the problems they will try to solve. During a test, test users should not be guided and their questions should not be answered. This will ensure true feedback from test users. Besides, test users’ behaviors should be closely monitored. They include gestures and spoken words during use and the procedures that obviously consume much time of users. Then test users will be evaluated to find out if they complete their assignments.
- Feedback is applied to improve designs. This begins with solving frequent problems and addressing the issue that has the greatest impact on use. The solutions will result in the smooth use of main functions. Other problems can be solved afterwards.
Above all, organizations must change their mindsets about UX/UI designs because a good development process should be iterative. Then feedback is collected for study and improvement. However, this must be free of bias towards outcomes or feedback and must be objective. Then organizations can simply improve their UX/UI.