As a User Experience professional, I am often asked to describe my deliverables and processes and I find myself thinking about how I can strip away much of the confusion that surrounds UX and UI. I believe that these two domains are co-dependent and symbiotic of each other. Their relationship reminds me of orchids in the wild. While some orchids can be parasitic many are “epiphytes” which translates to “on top of plant” In this analogy UI is the orchid to the strength and structure of UX. To take this concept even farther we look to UC research being the soil that helps the tree of UX grow.
So my question to UX researcher, in general, is how we can cultivate a rich understanding of the user, product, and even company ecosystem? Many times changes to a company website, products or services are changed to match a trend but, maybe not the customers' needs. So if you are looking to engage in UX ask yourself some important questions.
1. What problem are we trying to solve? While this seems like a no-brainer, many times could not be the driving force to engage in UX/UI changes. Products that become nothing more than a product log of features are usually always stuck in the next innovation phase of things. Yet never meeting a specific need. Development should never be because we can mindset, or well they have it so should we.
2. What are your customer’s needs? Doing proper research to user needs and wants help to eliminate must have features from like to have features. I honestly do not know why it takes almost 3-page scrolls to see weather information on the weather channel app, I just want weather!!!
3. What can we measure? In the end, the best UX research and implemented UI design mean nothing if you cannot look at quantifiable data to know your improvement or maybe even failure. Listen to your customers get that feedback from several measurable dimensions to know they changes you have made are even reaching the intended audience.
While the questions posed here are not the only things to look for and reference but, they are a good starting point for many of the activities that might drive UX and eventually UI design. Always remember that proper documentation and planning are also key to accountability and transparency. Keeping projects on schedule and clients and stakeholders happy can sometimes feel like you’re the ringmaster of a circus. But remember people's experience cannot merely be defined product features. Until next time happy UXin
Dr. Delminquoe L Cunningham