User experience (UX) doesn’t get enough credit. When most people think of UX—if they think of it at all—they think about it being related to making things look pretty on websites.
Let’s get one thing straight: UX is not exclusively digital.
User experience is the process of researching human experiences to create better experiences that fit the needs and wants of a user.
If we’re being honest, we don’t recognize the details that, for instance, exist along our commute to and from work. We don’t think about the way we make adjustments to our steering wheels or the rearview mirrors. We unconsciously incorporate these commute experiences to fit our needs; the details are meant to be overlooked so we have a pleasant commute to and from work.
And there you have it, my friends: that is what you call a user experience.
Yes, UX does involve working on creating and changing physical spaces like your very own car. Now, let’s talk about the digital part of user experience.
Currently, I’m assisting in creating wireframes and navigation for a client’s website and redesigning our Redhead blog. When working on wireframes and navigation, I think about the website goals and requirements and how they might differ from the users needs. I collaborate with the designer on the project to learn about the roadblocks and potential opportunities for simple and concise user interactions with the website.
After meeting with clients and the project team, it’s time to dig into research. I figure out who the user is, their likes and dislikes, and what platforms they are currently using that could be similar to the website we’re going to create. I use my trusty sidekick, Google, when I am looking for user feedback, websites with similar concepts, and design inspiration. Once research is complete, I sketch a few wireframes, look for feedback from users, the client, and our project team, and then I go through this process two to three more times before launching the wireframe off to our developers.
This is all in the service of creating an online user experience that’s as unconscious as those steering wheel adjustments you make along your road to work.
Interested in curating your own user experience? Here’s a simple recipe: a load of research + dab of design thinking + a pinch of planning equals one serving of a successful experience.