UX design, or User Experience design, focuses on the experience your customers have as they move through your product. This most commonly applies to digital design, but it is no different in concept than interior design, for example. How a customer enters, walks through, and leaves a business is the physical equivalent of the UX of your app or website.
Start with the customer journey, for example: Your customer is shopping for a pair of shoes. What will they first see when they visit your website?
The customer may ask themselves: Will I know where to go? Is this website the right place for me? What is this site? Who can I ask for help? How long will this take? Will I be able to return the shoes if they do not fit? Can I trust this retailer?
These are all elements of their journey and should be considered when designing a solution, particularly the order in which they arrive at these answers and how smoothly they can progress to the next step.
Books begin by bringing the reader into the experience; the stage or location of the characters, and the lives of the characters themselves. If the reader doesn’t feel engaged with these elements, they likely will not keep reading.
Welcome your customers to your website with common courtesies. Introduce yourself and what you are offering. For example, hotels.ng introduces itself with the text, “Find and book hotels in Nigeria.”
Think of this as similar to having a guest in your home. You want them to come, see your home, eat, stay a while, and leave knowing they had a good time. If they loved it, they’ll likely come back and visit again. They may even invite other close friends with them as well.
You want to organize your product for your audience so they feel welcome, and comfortable in your digital space. Introduce them to who you are and what your products are.
Here is a formula of basic elements that you may experience with some of your favorite e-commerce sites:
An introduction with the logo and name of the site and/or product, plus a welcome. Then featured products that represent the category of offerings. An easy to navigate journey that is a comfortable, simple path through your story: selecting a style, picking shoes, customizing size and color, adding to cart, checkout, post-purchase experiences, receiving their product, support for them. Experience when they return or send their friends.
When thinking through this process, remember you don’t need to try and arrange all of this information on a single page or screen. Otherwise, it might become overwhelming.
Consider that your experience unfolds over time, like a story: reveal information about your site’s security or information on shipping speeds only when relevant — as the customer needs the information.
Design is just as much about the things that you choose not to include as it is about the things you do, with each element telling a story of its own.
You’ll find that crafting a narrative around your products is not just helpful to getting and maintaining customer happiness and loyalty, but is crucial to defining and defending your design decisions. If you are working with team members or clients or other stakeholders, you will need to explain why you designed the product the way you did.
Communicating through storytelling is a powerful way to share decision-making as well as build customer empathy — and validate your assumptions in the process.
If you’re working with others on developing a product, it’s crucial that they understand the customers and their needs. Getting approval can also depend on how your teammates or collaborators understand what decisions you’ve made and why. Try using a site map template to help visualize key moments in a user’s journey, share with teammates, and collaborate with stakeholders in real time.
Much like with prototyping — often used to share how an experience works beyond what you build with pixels — sharing the story makes the holistic experience easier to grasp.