There are many ideas out there for what makes a great user experience. The NN Group defines User Experience as "all aspects of the end-user's interaction with the company, its services, and its products."
There's been a large misconception that UX Design is only digital product design, but in reality, UX Design extends itself to the user's experience in its entirety; not just within a product.
That said, here are what we believe to be a few keys that serve as a basis for successful UX pertaining to digital products.
All successful products, digital and otherwise do one thing right: They help users achieve their goals with the least (perceived) friction. One cannot have successful UX Design without helping users' achieve their desired outcomes. For example, users of Airbnb wish to book a place to stay; Airbnb makes it seamlessly easy to book a place, while also designing the supporting actions such as filtering by price, contacting hosts, and reading reviews. It's also important to remember users may be in different stages of a goal -- for example, in Airbnb, users may not be ready to book a trip, but may be leveraging the platform as a discovery tool.
One of the most overlooked but critical and basic components of successful UX is including flawless navigation. Imagine you’re in a new building for the first time, and need to get somewhere (for example, you’re running late to a meeting or you need to quickly swing into the restroom). The frustration of feeling as though you’re inside a labyrinth in that moment is a rather unpleasant experience. The same goes for users inside digital products. If a user has a goal to get somewhere but doesn’t know how to get there without guessing and clicking random elements, they too begin to feel the frustration of being inside a labyrinth. Simple and easy navigation is vital to a seamless experience. To do so, you may include a sticky footer navigation when designing for mobile so users feel as though they have an access point to core parts of your app, or you may have a clear “back” button if the user is on a page one step away from a primary page. There is no one way to design an ideal Navigation as it will depend on your product, device type, and user goal. However, ensure the topic of Navigation is a key piece of user feedback and research. Always ensure users feel the flexibility and freedom to achieve their goals within your product.
Another term of this component would be "trustworthiness." Think about the last time you came across a "sketchy" website or app. You likely saw things that felt "off," whether it was the resolution, formatting, dis-alignment in elements, or perhaps it was something as simple as "weird" colors, copy, or imagery. Perceived credibility and trustworthiness in a product is so easy to break if one doesn't keep the bigger picture in mind. Oftentimes companies, more commonly found in small businesses can harm their UX by quickly publishing any and all of their ideas. In order to establish perceived credibility in your UX, quick tips come down to clarity, cleanliness, and ease of focal point. Neilsen Norman Group breaks down web trustworthiness into four categories: Design quality, upfront discloser, comprehensive/current, and "connected to the rest of the web." It's no mistake that Design Quality is called out first, as its crucial to sound and credible UX Design.
Successful User Experience extend itself to all parts of a company, beyond product design. However, if you begin to implement these few key areas, they will serve as basis for a path to a successful UX as it pertains to digital products. To learn about the bigger picture UX process in detail, get our Free UX Checklist found on our homepage.
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