What Is UX and UI?
User Experience from a web aspect is the experience a user has while interacting with your brand online. Depending on strategy this can start from PPC all the way to the final goal of the website. Good UX meets the exact needs of the customer without any additional hurdles, nothing more nothing less. This is typically planned out during wireframing & discovery. This includes but is not limited to how the user interacts, the way the site reacts to the user & improving usability.
The User Interface is transferring a brand’s visual assets into a product’s interface as a way to enhance the UX of the website. UI can also be defined as the process of visually guiding the user through the website’s interface with proper design and interactive elements. UI is not a design only responsibility, a proper UI is planned and executed side-by-side between both designers & developers.
Here’s a good quote on how to describe UX vs UI:
“If you imagine a product as the human body, the bones represent the code which give it structure. The organs represent the UX design: measuring and optimizing against input for supporting life functions. And UI design represents the cosmetics of the body–its presentation, its senses and reactions.”
How are they relevant to marketers, and why should they care?
UX & UI working together enhances conversion of websites. The slightest UI/UX change can make dramatic lasting impressions of the metrics used to measure success in the marketing field. A proper marketing campaign cannot succeed without the three channels of UX, UI & Marketing working together towards a common goal.
Why the focus on patterns?
Patterns of design and UX often become expectations. Part of the job of the UX designer is to meet or exceed the expectations of the visitor. So, if there are patterns in a given industry or for a certain audience, you should know about them.
What about trends – do they matter?
(Why does it or does it not make sense to chase fashion?)
There’s a difference between being current and being cutting edge in UX/UI. Because of the limitations of technology it’s not always wise to be on the cutting edge of all techniques. Some new techniques take months or even years to be fully implemented into a browser. That being said, being current with modern supported trends can separate a brand from its competitors in the eyes of the public. Apple is a great example of this in another industry. For years people have gravitated towards the Apple brand simply because it’s good UX/UI. There has always been better technical phones & computers than Apple, but there has never been a better experience for a user with their products. So, stay up to date on the trends, and apply them if they make sense for your users, industry and overall brand.
Research: Why It Matters
How do I sell research and pre-design to stakeholders?
A proper discovery/research phase can limit unnecessary time, cost and scope changes. It also enables the identification of business, technical & user goals to be properly documented, which leads to proper implementation in the UI/UX phases. If a potential client has data that can be analyzed to inform your design process, you’d be doing them a disservice to not analyze that data and use it to better plan your process. Consider your research like your trip planning, and your design process like your journey. The better you plan, the more likely you are to create a better, more efficient journey that doesn’t require you to backtrack.
What informs UX design?
Everything. UX is actually a non-digital principal that is easily adapted to the digital space. People have been practicing the principals of UX since the early 1900s. Henry Ford used UX to figure out how to make human labor more productive, efficient and patterned, which led to the 40 hour work week. From a digital aspect, years of A/B testing and research data from marketers and optimization teams have informed designers on what works and what doesn’t work. There have been decades of failed advertising that we’ve learned and grown from. Much like the human mind is constantly evolving and changing, so is UX to keep up. Banner Ads were once a profitable avenue for advertising but as people have grown accustomed to it they’ve become less successful and have required UX/UI designers to adapt how they are implemented for greater success.
Qualities To Look For In Good Designers
What are the qualities you should look for when hiring a designer?
- Observe & listen. A good designer can take notice of things others will overlook and listens what matters to users and project goals. No good designer ever had an inflated ego.
- Ambition. Great designers simply want to make things better. They want to learn, and they want to evolve the way people interact with the world.
- Communication. Without good communication skills the ideas a designer has in their head are worthless. A good designer must have the ability to explain to clients, managers & developers everything they have going on in their head.
- Integration. In web design the difference between a great designer and a good designer is the ability to know how their ideas will be integrated. If a designer understands how their design is going to be coded, it opens a world of possibilities for what can be done and lessens a lot of battles between design & development teams.
How do you get into UX or UI?
Traditional school, online courses, internships, reading books are all great starts. But above all: practice, practice, practice. Get started with a page and install Google Analytics and heatmapping (with something like heatmap.me or crazyegg.com). Bring traffic to that page through social media or emailing friends and family and see where people go, where they get stuck. Then, tweak, change and repeat, then observe the differences. Just don’t SPAM your friends, they may never forgive you. Try to give them something relevant to whatever it is you are passionate about.
What are you excited about?
We are excited about the lines blurring between UX/UI & Development. It’s possible that over the next few years traditional designers will become developers by second nature. Also, the movement towards User Intelligence combined with User Experience. Imagine tailored experiences on the apps and websites you love that are just for you, based on what a system or series of systems knows about you.