What do UX designers actually do? First thing that comes to mind is ‘OK, this one is easy – they design experience’. But this is actually too superficial for an answer. Namely, if we want to be precise, we should say that UX designers create products which are supposed to trigger certain experiences and ways to design experiences differ from methods for simply developing a product.
This leads to next question: what is a secret combination UX designers rely on when designing products focused on creating certain user experiences? The most important ingredient in every product with good UX is that it’s creator was thinking about it’s future users all the time along the way. Products which are winning the battle on the market are the ones with this psychological edge.
This means that in order to build something meaningful, designers have to work within certain psychological framework. In other words, they have to be comfortable with concepts through which people are adopting new stuff, making connections, relate to things, learn, etc. This is not easy, but there are certain patterns of user’s behaviour which are predictable and good to have in mind in order to create great UX:
Creating positive experience takes time
First of all, in order to interact with something (or someone) people have to be aware of it, and then to develop some kind of interest for that. If these are settled, chances are that first contact will be made. If this turns out to be pleasant, then regular interaction might be expected, even though this one is not for sure, but depends on quality of relation that was built. All of these go for user-product relation as well. There is a proper life cycle that must happen before users start trusting your product enough so they can feel comfortable around it, and at last enjoy using it.
Every great experience is about being in control
People have fears, lots of them. So we have developed defense mechanisms to protect ourselves from unpleasant events. One of the things which is widely categorized as unwanted situation is lacking control over something. In line with this, your product shouldn’t push users to perform actions for which they are not interested or haven’t agreed to. Same goes for possible limitations – think twice before you put them in front of the users, since this may cause a lot of revolt. This is because people usually prefer to be self-directed when creating paths by which they use things. So, make people feel that while using your product they will always be able to take the next step, as well as step out, and you will be closer to make them comfortable and gain their trust.
People are more likely to stick to familiar things
If you want to make great experience for your product users, then you have to involve them in the creation process. Think it is too much to ask? Then take this into consideration: whichever product is in question, users will have to adopt some of the instructions before they actually start using it. The more familiar with concepts they have to grasp, the more likely it is they will be patient enough to go through initial onboarding and actually start using the product. This is equally true for new washing machine as well as the app one has just downloaded. Also, people like to be actually involved in the planning process of the instructions they are supposed to learn. So, if you have the opportunity to turn your users to become your co-designers you’re doing yourself a double favour – making them familiar with your product and doing it early enough. What does the trick here is usability testing at early stages of product development.
Usability testing is very important part of user research and the earlier you perform it, the more effective design process you will get. Find good tools that will help you perform usability tests on your product prototypes. Don’t hesitate to find out what your users think and how they behave!