When you cooperate with a custom software development company to build a web or a mobile application for your business, you gain a certain degree of freedom in forming the final result. Unlike in the case with off-the-shelf solutions, you can decide for yourself what functionality will be added to the product and how it’ll look to better match your brand. However, because the product is intended to be used by the people who may not share your vision of how the app should operate, there are some limitations and rules the development team has to follow.
User experience (UX) design is a process whose primary goal is to ensure that people who’ll use your product will have a pleasant feeling after working with it. Despite the constant changes in the ways of our interaction with software, some principles of providing users with a good user experience stay the same for many years. Therefore, blindly following your inner voice while developing the design of your future web or mobile app may not always be a good idea.
If you won’t follow the main design principles, there’s still a chance that you’ll create a piece of digital art that will amaze its users with its innovativeness. But it’s a big question if they want to use it over and over again. So today, we’ll consider eight principles of UX design that will help you build software that will provide users with some useful features and make them feel at home in an unfamiliar environment.
Eight Steps Towards the Happiness of Your End-users
UX design principles that software developers apply during the work may vary according to the project’s specifics. Say, developers may ignore some accessibility aspects such as high-contrast themes, for example, if the application is being developed for a small company of five people, among whom such functionality is not in demand. However, suppose you decide to cooperate with a software company that, among other things, provides UX design services. In that case, you may be sure that it follows some core rules that allow providing users with the best possible experience in the majority of cases.
It’s All about the User
Since the first (and probably the best) half of UX is “user”, it’s not surprising that considering the end-user as the main focal point of your project is the primary design principle. It means that developers, first of all, should focus on what experience the target user group is looking for in the design of an application. Figuring out what users want to get is a complex task that can be solved in different ways.
If budget and resources allow, the development company can do UX research whose primary goal is to understand how users will interact with the application, what will be their expectations, and what issues this software will solve. Another option is to rely on feedback received from early users of the MVP version of the application to improve the experience using up-to-date information.
Don’t Try to Reinvent the Wheel
It may be an excellent decision to make everything possible to impress everybody with a fresh view of how modern design should look like. But if you try too hard, you risk creating something that does not cause any feelings other than confusion and poor user experience. The thing is that people appreciate fresh and unexpected experiences, but at the same time, they expect that the product they try for the first time will have something similar to things they use regularly. In such a case, it’ll be easier for them to become familiar with a new product on the market faster and explore all the new possibilities it provides without any frustration.
Also, for a better experience, the design of your product must follow a single principle and stay the same across different pages. This design principle will help you avoid a situation when users may decide that the app was unable to load the stylesheet or accidentally opened a tab currently under development.
Don’t Let Users Get Lost in the Maze
Another vital issue from the UX design perspective is to have a clear picture of the hierarchical structure of your software product. The simplest way to do this is to build a tree-like structure that describes the connections between the main page and all other pages. It will help you to assess how well the content is organized throughout the design and how easy it’ll be for a human being to understand which way to go to find this or that page without spoiling the experience of use.
Read Also: What are Best UX Practices for the eCommerce Industry and Why They are so Important
Context is the Key
You can’t design software out of the context in which it will be used. When we talk about the context from the experience point of view, there are many different things to consider. For example, you must decide whether the application will be used on mobile devices or PCs. Also, apps used in a calm office should be created with a different UX design approach than those used when driving home on public transport. The emotional state of the user may also play a significant role.
Say you want to design an app with a great user experience that helps people fight panic attacks. For example, it can connect to wearable devices such as smartwatches or fitness bracelets to detect rapid, pounding heart rate, one of the symptoms of such a condition. In such a case, it would be a terrible idea to turn on a loud alarm and display a notification saying: “The panic attack is coming! Visit a doctor ASAP!” The use of pastel shades and a pulsating animation reminding the user to breathe deeply may be an option that will provide a much better experience.
Make the User Feel at Home
Good UX design implies that users don’t feel like guests in someone else’s house when using the app. Especially when they do it on a daily basis. Giving the users more control over the application they install on their smartphone that they use more often than a toothbrush or a fork usually results in a better experience.
This principle can be challenging to follow since you don’t know how experienced your users are, and too much information can become overwhelming for some of them. Therefore, say, the design of the settings page of your app should be well thought out. If a user wants to turn off notifications in the podcast player, enable an easy-to-use opportunity to do it. Adjusting proxy settings is not a problem that worries most people, so you can hide this advanced option deeper in the part of the UI where only experienced users usually go.
Think of Accessibility
The accessibility principle means that you develop your application design to allow everyone, especially people with disabilities, to use it without any obstacles. Implementing this UX design principle in most cases won’t require any significant efforts, and improved experience will recover all costs. For example, people with visual impairments will find your app significantly more attractive from the user experience point of view if you add the ability to switch to a high-contrast theme. Enabling the WAI-ARIA support will also simplify the use of your web or mobile app for people who can’t use a mouse and use speech recognition software for controlling their devices.
Keep it Simple
Striving to put as much visual information as possible on a unit of screen area, you risk overwhelming your clients and ruin their experience of using your app. A good UX design makes it easier for users to focus on the problem-solving part of your app and not be distracted by the UI elements. Therefore, you must not turn your app into a Christmas tree whose only purpose is to draw attention. Instead, each part of the app must contain only those elements that invest in solving the problem with which the client came to you.
Read Also: Importance of UI/UX Design and Which Option is Better: Hire a Freelancer or a Company for its Development
Don’t Run From Errors. Solve Them
No application is immune to errors. Design your app so that people can easily understand what’s wrong, solve the problem, or inform you about it without having to do research to find the “help and support” button. It can be an excellent idea to follow the principle of notifying about the possible causes of the problem. For example, you can follow Spotify’s example. If there’s no internet connection, the mobile app will inform the user about it without using any uninformative error codes and offer to use the offline mode.
All core principles of UX design derive from the fact that you create software not for yourself (in most cases) but for the people you know nothing about. The path from the main page of your application to the page that allows buying shiny toy unicorns may be evident for you. However, for a random user trying to find a worthy Christmas present who sees your app for the first time, everything may not be so straightforward. To avoid users interacting with your app in unexpected ways, leading them to nowhere, you must not underestimate the main UX design principles.
If you want to ensure that your idea is in good hands and bad user experience won’t ruin it, please contact us.