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Thinking Like a UX Designer

Thinking Like a UX Designer

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Author: Devmountain Tutorials
Description:

Analyze the steps that the UX designer takes to make sure that the mobile app works effectively for the user and list some professional development options for a UX designer.

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Tutorial
what's covered
This section will explore a sample project and thinking like a UX designer by discussing:
  1. WHEN THINGS DON'T GO AS PLANNED
  2. SOLVING A DESIGN ISSUE
  3. CHALLENGES OF UX DESIGN
  4. OPPORTUNITIES FOR UX DESIGNERS

1. WHEN THINGS DON'T GO AS PLANNED

When we launched the Poodle Jumper iOS app, we projected to have 200 registrations in the first week. Imagine our dismay when we only had 20. Why did this happen? Were the projections wrong? It was my job as the UX designer to find out if the problem was a design issue.

I started by going through the flow myself to see if I could make it from the beginning to the end. Looking at the analytics we had the flow of traffic to the app, so we know the marketing in place was effective. I found no technical issues with the signup so I reached out to users and asked for feedback.

Many users expressed concern with the amount of personal information we were asking for right out of the gate. They hadn't decided if they were ready to start using the app, and we were asking for their address, the kind of dog they had, and what kind of food they ate. This made users nervous.


2. SOLVING A DESIGN ISSUE

I’m working through the experience and how we are establishing trust with the user. Users need to know what value they are getting to be willing to disclose personal information. I’m creating a design with progressive disclosure. Progressive disclosure is when the user can provide information as they progress in the experience. It creates a simplified and natural flow of information at the right time so they don’t have to fill out a 50-field form before they can do anything.

Screens of the Poodle Jumper App

Screen 1

This is the first screen users see. It gives them the choice to sign up or login if they are already a user. The orange 'Sign Up' button takes them to the next screen.

Screen 2

This is our current Create Account screen. It requires the user to enter their first name, last name, email, confirm email, password, confirm password, street address, state, zip code, dog size, number of dogs, type of food, and attention needed before they can progress.

To improve the user’s experience, I start by looking at the current screen and deciding what they are trying to accomplish. In this case, the user wants to know if our service is available in their area before entering all their information. Asking for the entire address isn’t necessary to know if our service is available so I’m going to simplify that to just the zip code.

Screen 3

When the user enters the zip code, we’ll provide feedback to let them know if our service is available. If our service is not available, I’ll change the screen to let them know.

Screen 4

On this search result screen, I’ll give them a chance to opt-in to notifications when the service is expanded to their city. This should help put them at ease from worrying that they need to come back and keep checking. When the user selects this button, they’ll see the next screen.

Screen 5

To send the user the notification we need to know their email address or mobile number for text notifications. This completes the flow of screens for users when the service isn’t available. Next, let’s look at how to improve the flow for a user who can sign up.


Screen 6

The 'Create Account' process has been broken up into three screens: the first for their name, email address, and password. This makes it easy for the user to see what they are entering on one page without scrolling. The 'Next' button and pagination dots at the bottom are clues to the user that they are on step 1 of 3.

Screen 7

The second screen to create an account asks for their location information. The pagination dots at the bottom updated to show they are on step 2 of 3.

Screen 8

The third screen to create an account asks for their pet’s information. The buttons are large enough that they are easy to tap on a mobile device. The title of the button has changed to 'Complete' and pagination dots show they are on step 3 of 3.

This shows you a bit of the thought process involved when you are a user experience designer. Next, I will test the screens with additional users and continue to refine them as we learn.


3. CHALLENGES OF UX DESIGN

A common challenge many creative professionals face is working effectively with clients and stakeholders. When your goals, expectations, or vision aren’t aligned it is difficult to create work everyone is happy with.

In these tricky situations, your communication skills are critical. By actively listening and repeating back what you hear, you can identify confusion or misunderstanding early. Asking questions plays a big part in creating a shared understanding of what needs to be designed.

Many clients don’t know what they want until they see what they don’t want. Ultimately, it comes down to the relationship building skills of trust and mutual respect to achieve the outcome everyone is hoping for.



4. OPPORTUNITIES FOR UX DESIGNERS

There are several career paths and disciplines for UX designers to pursue. I could take on freelance contracts and be my own boss. I could stay in my current space as a UX Generalist. Or, I could specialize and become an expert in a specialized area of the user experience like research.

Here are a few examples titles of those who specialized: UX Researcher, UI Designer, Interaction Designer, Motion Designer, Visual Designer, Information Architect, and even Human-Computer Interaction (HCI.) There is a lot of room for growth in the UX industry. It’s a very exciting place to be.

One of the ways I grow as a designer is by attending UX meetups. These are events organized by other UX and Product professionals. They’re not afraid to share their knowledge and experience to help others.

This is one of my favorite things about working in design, it really is a community. Meet up topics can vary wildly so it is a great way to get exposure to other ideas. The most recent meet up I attended was about data visualization and how people understand data.

Data Visulalization Meet Up

As technology evolves the number of UX problems to solve is growing exponentially. The new abilities of technology are opening design opportunities faster than ever before.

New mobile devices are released almost every month from various brands. Wearable devices provide the ability to make things easier and more accessible for users on the go. Smart home devices and digital assistants are widely adopted but still need more human-centered design to live up to our needs and expectations. Even self-driving cars will need significant user experience design!

If solving these problems interests you, check out UX blogs like Usability Geek, browse usability guidelines such as Google's Material Design and Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines, or search for a UX meetup near you.