One of the fastest growing tech development fields in the modern world is that of user experience (UX) design. UX is sometimes confused with a ‘user interface’ (UI). The two are intrinsically linked, but are different things. A user interface is the software or platform with which a person can interact – i.e. menu screens, websites, apps and operating systems. The user experience is how an individual feels during their time using that platform, based on how easy the software is to use and how closely it met their needs and expectations.
The field of UX/UI design is growing, because companies are placing an increasing importance on the journey taken by their customers. UX design represents the technical arm of the segment: the coding and programming, development and testing. UI design is the aesthetics and performance: graphic design, navigation management and idea processing. Together, these design elements are used to create interactive software for consumers which are used to engage markets, strengthen relationships and drive sales.
Factors Affecting User Experience
What makes a user experience a good one? This is the question that companies have to ask themselves if they want to be successful in the modern marketplace. 89% of customers claim that a consistent experience is the most important aspect of using a product or service, ranking far above other factors like price and popularity.
The term ‘user experience’ covers a broad spectrum of elements. Something as simple as having company contact details on a business website can prevent around half of visitors from leaving that site and choosing another service. That address and phone number are therefore critical aspects of the user experience, and also a fast and free fix which closes a sales channel leak and keeps the customer happy during their visit.
Mobile is another important aspect of the user experience. Mobile web use has surpassed traditional computer-based browsing, and smartphone internet use has grown by 72%. Over half of consumers (55%) say that a bad mobile experience will harm their overall perception of a brand, and neglecting mobile is one of the key reasons companies find their online presence sliding in the search ranks, thanks to Google’s increasing focus on user experience.
Employment Boom For IT Design Sector
IT jobs are one of the key employment segments in the UK today, A 2016 Tech Partnership survey found that 163,000 jobs per quarter are posted which are seeking IT specialists, and 27% of those advertised jobs were in the design and development category. Designing and testing the user experience is therefore an in-demand skill for which companies are actively seeking experienced workers.
Recent Temkin Group research found that 84% of medium to large enterprises questioned already have some form of UX development strategy in place, and intend to expand this strategy further. When responding to a study by eConsultancy, 73% of companies which are not currently engaged in UX testing said that they planned to develop this area in the coming twelve months. Researchers predict that by 2025, the impact of user experience will exceed the impact of reputation, price and location in terms of attracting and retaining customers.
This is great news for anyone who wishes to work in this sector. User experience design can involve a whole range of skills, from sociology and psychology to graphic design and process innovation. To create a successful consumer UX, the journey from service discovery to action completion must be smooth, engaging, interesting and easy. Being able to contribute to these needs with fresh thinking from new angles is a desirable trait in the UX job market.
How UI/UX Designers Are Evolving Into Product Designers
Software as a Service (SaaS), social networking, mobile applications and smart devices are just some of the many ways that software and programs are becoming products in their own right. The interface being created and sold is the product itself in many cases, rather than a means to an end. The field of UX/UI design is fast becoming a product design category, which incorporates everyone from product developers to graphic designers.
A great example of this is social media network Facebook, a free software platform which has grown to be worth over $350 billion and which has over 1.8 billion global members. Because of the vast presence of people using the platform, it can generate millions daily in advertising revenues. All of that cash relies solely on the user experience. Members are not subscribers, and have no obligation to stay with the site. If the UX value falls, the site will be worth nothing and have no use to anyone. In order to keep the businesses going, strong teams of UX professionals are working behind the scenes, ensuring visitors are happy and satisfied.
All businesses can learn from this example. Even if your product or service is something people need, or if they are obligated to stay by contract or subscription, you still need to focus on the user experience. Unhappy customers will show their displeasure by getting away from your service as fast as they can, and giving their time and money to another company instead. To make it online, pay special attention to the user experience and always strive to improve it.