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Zeta CTO and co-founder Ramki Gaddipati explains the relevance of a good UX and  takes us through some pointers that are key to great app designs

 

Design makes up the soul of a product. It is what users first see and interact with even before they start engaging with a product. Therefore, it needs to capture their hearts, appeal to their minds and make them feel comfortable to ensure your app/website strike the right chords.

 

Today, apps have proliferated every category you can think of - utilities, entertainment, games, news, productivity, lifestyle, social networking, payments and many more. As of stats available on June 2016, Android users have the option of choosing from 2.2 million apps while Apple App Store has close to 2 million available apps, spanning all categories.

 

Such data only show that the competition is intense when it comes to getting noticed. Design, in fact, transcends the boundaries of online space to every industry. Consider the example of automobile industry where design has stood as a key differentiator from time to time. Any business serious about creating a product customers love, must take UX design (user experience) very seriously.

 

It is the job of a UX designer to be inside the minds of users, predict their behaviour, figure out possible problems and place solutions at those areas. So, when something is so crucial, it needs very careful and meticulous planning. Let’s look at some of the key factors that make for a good UX design:

 

Research:

 

Use time to research all use cases of your app/website and identify user goals. Also, know your customer attributes such as - their age, educational background, lifestyle choices, exposure to technology for giving them what they are expecting.

 

Empathy for users:

 

Every UX design has to start with the right mindset - a basic sense of empathy and understanding for users. Building products that show clear intentions that you care, helping people easily navigate through the interface and making  choices clear to them, will make for a good UX.

 

Simplicity of design:

 

A simple design is easy to follow. So keep it as minimal and clear for the users as possible. The design should help people make choices easy and, so, a menu with a list of 15 inline items does not make the best idea. Again, for a user guide, use design elements to stagger the information, offering the relevant bits at the right places, rather than loading a whole range of information on one page.

 

Maintaining familiarity:

 

New frameworks and flashy plugins are great but if they steer too away from the familiarity zone of users, you may lose out on attention. Using popular patterns, familiar icons and presentation styles is a great way to appeal to the familiarity quotient of user experience.

 

Minimise need for typing:

 

With mobile apps becoming more and more popular, it is important you keep in mind your UX design needs to cater to round fingers and blurry eye sights! So eliminate the need to type wherever possible. Options like swipe or tap make for better UX than typing out something.

 

Prototype testing:

 

Building prototypes or preliminary versions of a product are great ways to make decisions about hard-to-predict design iterations. Seeing how users interact with a near-life-like product gives clarity about whether a particular design is in the right direction or not.

 

Pilot testing:

 

Even after a prototype has passed a test successfully, the final product might evoke different reactions from users. Hence, always make it a point to test your product with a subset of people who define your target audience. Note their feedback and make changes to filter out issues that you may have overlooked.

 

Hiring the right people:

 

Only sound designers can churn out the best results. So, a business should invest in its people and drive attempts to hire the right minds. Be it illustrators, animators, UI designers or prototypers, make an investment in people to offer the right kind of experience to users.

 

The importance of a good design will only continue to grow as users look for that perfect product amongst the plethora of available apps. It is, therefore, important to stay ahead of competition by offering your users a product that they love to come back to every time.

 

Remember, the value of  good UX design does not only begin and end with a good first impression. It manifests in recall and a willingness to come back to your product every time.

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2017-04-13