Institute for Digital Business

UX Design: More than screen design

September 1, 2020

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From the lessons of the CAS Digital Masterclass  with lecturer Sibylle Peuker reports student Roger Hochstrasser:

Each of us is confronted with UX (User Experience) design every day by using the software in working process, searching something on websites or playing a game on our smartphone. As soon as we get our desired result – quickly and easily as possible – we are satisfied. In other words, as user this is a matter of course for us. For us, “simplcity” is a prerequisite, isn’t it? If the software or an application is too complicated to operate, we are annoyed.

“A user interface is like a joke. If you have to explain it, it’s not that good.”
Martin LeBlanc

How does good User Experience look like?

We dealt intensively with this exciting question during the class with Sibylle Peuker. Good UX (User Experience) design is all about putting the user first. A large part of the design process is getting to know your target group: What are their goals? What are their challenges? What motivates them and how do they move?

Expert review

Using the example of the Zurich Zoo’s website, we investigated various questions that might interest potential visitors to the zoo. For this we must take the perspective of others. Who goes to this website and with what goal?

In a first step every student studied the website and writes down what he liked what disturbed him/her. Afterwards we discussed the results. An interesting fact is the annoying cookie banner that “sticks” at the top of the website.

According to UX architekt Sibylle Peuker, experience shows that many user do not click this banner away. In this case this is rather clumsy, because under this banner there is the navigation menu and the logo of the zoo!

That brings me to another point. Why the hell there is just a menu button (so called “Hamburger”) without any explanation? The design of the Hamburger button is nice. But did the graphic designer think of grandparents? Will they find the zoo plan?

What are the needs of the user?

In order to evaluate a website, UX experts examine possible scenarios for an expert review or an heuristic walkthrough. It’s all about the needs of the user.

In a second step we had to investigate six different scenarios, like for example “my godson Lukas likes wolves” and had to answer the following questions among others:

  • Do they even exist at Zurich zoo?
  • When are they fed?
  • Are there any wolf puppies right now?

Based on the answers to all questions by the different test persons, corresponding user satisfaction can be analyzed.

The importance of user centered design

As described above, the interface is viewed from the user’s perspective. The user experience contains besides usability also utility, content and branding.

  • An iterative development process for applications, processes and products in which the prospective users are included from the start.
  • The project is conceived and controlled from the user interface
  • Structure, content and design are largely determined by the needs, expectations and understanding of the user.

The process is really similar to the design thinking method:

  1. Understand the problem and build empathy
  2. Prototype
  3. Test
  4. Rinse and repeat …until your are satisfied or run out of money

A striking difference is that the design thinking focusses more on the mindset und in UX the Design doing is the main focus.

You need to research to find the solution

A problem solution is often only considered from a technical point of view and the processes and procedures of the user are not taken into account.

“…Usability is about people and how they understand and use things. Not about technology.”
Steve Krug

It is also a fact, that user often don’t know what they really need. So do not just ask the users what they want. Usually you won’t necessarily get the answers that lead to an innovative solution.

New perspectives through observation

To illuminate this aspect, it is recommended to observe the workplace. This is supplemented with interviews, analytics and analyzed with benchmarks. Through proper observation and interested questions about why the user performs an activity in this way, the researcher can translate the needs of the user accordingly. Sibylle could show us some amazing examples of her worklife.

Prototypes and usability tests

Prototyping, testing and information architecture are essential in the iterative process for finding the best possible solution. Interface design and user guidance e.g. in apps are designed, tested and improved with static screen models taking into account conventions and mental models.

In the end, each case must be considered individually. It is also not always useful to be just as simple and reduced as possible. A certain complexity is often necessary.

…and what helps you to create a great User experience?
Stay curious. Think first.

“People ignore design that ignores people.”
Frank Chimero, Designer

More content about User Experience on our blog

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