Designers, developers or product owners who are serious about their jobs and at the same time have doubts about the importance of UX are fairly rare nowadays. The consensus which is pretty much set is that caring about user’s needs is what directs the business towards the success.
Mapping this course of wished success is what differs. Just for example, while some are inclined to think that focus on UX can be delayed for more mature phases of production, others consider user research one of the first thing to be done in development of product idea.
Whatever the approach is, it will result in good UX if supported by certain framework that is focused on users. Namely, what all products which offer meaningful and valuable user experience have in common are sorts of information they provide and ways in which that is done.
There are (at least) five basic principles to stick to in order to end up with products which users will enjoy using. These are supposed to guide design process and keep your UX team on the same and right path:
The idea behind every product should be original but at the same time developed in a way to fulfill some real need. Or, in other words, while thinking about grand new project, one should be equally concerned about ‘wow’ reaction it will provoke as well as ‘how’ perspective of it. Forgetting about the ‘how’ part leads towards things hard to grasp by users. This is usually why most of innovations turned out to be great failures, as well. So, if you want to end up with a product relevant to users, try to think about their actual needs and problems and solve it with your great idea. In a handy and obvious way, preferably.
Which leads us to usability of your product design. The key word here is: easy. The product should be simple and enjoyable to use. Main goal is to make product content accessible and searchable, so users can easily find what they are looking for. Namely, the product should speak clearly for itself and by itself. In other words, all information your product provides should be understandable (jargons for example is not the best choice, e.g.) and findable so users don’t have to wander around in search for it.
To prevent situations in which users lose their time and patience while trying to grasp your product points and goals, put these in a proper context. Namely, by putting info within the product on the expected places of users journey, you’re assuring that users are actually aware of what are they doing along the way. Similar as in the books, where each word is followed by a bunch of contextual info (like sentence, chapter or page number where it occurs, name of the book, etc.), information which product brings should be supported by wider context as well.
If you want users to stick to your product, you have to make sure that they believe what you tell them. This of course means that your product has to be trustworthy. And it doesn’t only mean that it actually works and is not full of bugs, but also that it is transparent and doesn’t include some ‘secret’ intentions. Good way to go here is to provide your users with more human-like interactions with product than they are used to experience. Introduce them with product capabilities but also share with them potential problems they might stumble upon. Let them know that you’re there to offer solutions all the time.
And probably most important of all – people should have a desire to use your product. As in every other field, desire is tricky and subjective, but there are certain mechanisms to trigger and feed it. People want to use products in which they find value and make a proper relation with them. As mentioned, product which brings value is usually the one which actually solves some kind of problem and satisfy user’s need. And the answers what the problems and needs might be are given by dedicated research, of course. On the other hand, in order to make people stick to your product, emotions and appreciation for it must be evoked. Design elements such as brand, identity and overall image of it is of a big help here.
The five principles listed above are supposed to be in the very core of every product which is underlined by great UX design. Even though someone could say that these are not really sufficient, one is for sure: they are necessary for good UX. If you see that there is more to be said, don’t hesitate to comment. We’re eager to hear which principles you find to be basic ones for creating great UX.