We’ve all used the words “user experience” in our conversations about a product, say when describing Airbnb or Evernote. And many of us are working on online products or platforms which require human to computer interaction to sell. How do these companies arrive at a delightful user experience? One way is to actually involve your user in the design process.
Leading the session this week Aiswarya, a product and user experience designer, helped us demystify the UX world!
1.Always ask the right questions
Whether you already have a product in hand or you’re beginning to create one based on an insight or problem you’ve identified it is always important to first and foremost keep the needs of the user in mind.
- What is the task you think your users want to do?
- Decide on what you want to build for your users.
Even before you build a prototype go out into the market to validate your ideas – are you in fact solving the right problem? This will save you a lot of time and money! Beginning with 5 people is enough to gain enough insights.
As with all good questionnaires:
- Set up the context and make sure the user being interviewed is comfortable
- Ask open ended questions – avoid yes/no questions
- Refrain from bias and putting words in the users mouth
- Skill up on accurate note taking – record feedback accurately and don’t add your own interpretation
- Don’t ask ‘what (features) do you want?’ – the user is most likely to say ‘I don’t know’
- Observe behaviours while asking the user to perform a task on the app (if you’re at this stage)– do they stumble or have difficulty with something?
2. Discover your user personas
Whilst completing your research you will discover user personas. A persona represents the user mindset of a significant portion of people in the real world. A persona is not necessarily linked to the demographic of the individual.
For a company trying to build analytics for their clients – whether they are a wholesale business, a boutique, or a chain – (so across demographic identity) – the personas could be:
- I don’t have the time to look at analytics
- I don’t understand analytics features
- I don’t see the value of using analytics for my busines
When exploring how do individuals give and receive feedback in their team/organisations the personas could be:
- I never give feedback as I don’t like confrontation
- I speak directly to the person I want to give feedback to
- I don’t know the best technique to share feedback
Discovering these personas or mindsets are important when exploring what features, instructions and tasks are working, what are the problems a persona group faces and then exploring how can you solve this.
Going back to the example of analytics, if a business owner doesn’t have time to look at analytics (whether they are a boutique, wholesale, or chain business owner) – can you push them analytics-oriented notifications frequently with all relevant info?
Understanding personas will help you decide what features are most useful and which ‘persona problems’ to prioritize.
3.Test with paper prototypes and iterations
We then got drawing! Even before you involve a developer get your pens and paper out and design your app to solve the problem – this is called the wireframe.
- Think about what is the bare minimum you need to design/steps to go through to solve the problem
- What does each screen look like when the user performs the task
- Then go out out test the paper wire frame
- Don’t tell users how to do it
- User questions are some of the best data you can collect.
- Write down where users encountered problems (there are always design flaws)
- Redesign and retest
For the problem ‘feedback within a team/organisation’ the paper prototype/wireframe could look like this.
Giving users a comparison of versions is also a great way to gain user feedback. Version 1 is more simple however lacks instructions – which we then included in Version 2 to add further clarity and capture the correct data
If the tasks are not resonating with your users, it may be a cue to start over with better tasks! And this is how it goes – question, listen, explore results and redesign! You are building the blocks and improving the user experience in iterations.
Some interesting resources to get you started:
- Aiswarya’s Amazing PPT
- Balsamiq – rapid, effective and fun wire framing software
- 52 Weeks of UX – a discourse on designing for real people
Thanks Aiswarya for the amazing insights!
And we did eat dinner 🙂