UX design, or user experience design, is often overlooked by IT Firms and business owners alike. Many businesses often overlook the value of UX design when launching their brand or designing a product because they may not have the monetary means or expendable manpower to handle the additional work. As a result, businesses are missing out on providing consumers with positive user experiences which means they are minimizing the potential for repeat business, and customer satisfaction.
What is UX Design?
User experience design can simply be explained as the process that is used to create products, or services that provide meaningful, relevant, and useful experiences for users. If done correctly, UX design will allow a consumer to effortlessly complete their tasks from beginning to end without any frustration and a heightened number of ‘Wow Moments’. A stellar UX experience will create efficiencies in every step of the user process.
UX vs UI
You may be wondering what the difference between user experience design and user interface design is. While often used interchangeably, they aren’t the same. Both design tools intend to delight users but they each reach their intended goal by different means.
UX design is concerned with the overall experience a user has with a product or service which is driven by the experience being either good or bad. For example:
- Is the user flow seamless?
- Does an interface encourage user interaction?
- Does the usability and content in a product or service increase a company’s conversion rate?
These concerns are addressed by a business or firm through pulling knowledge from their audience, conducting a competitive analysis, and gaining an in-depth understanding of market or product gaps.
UI on the other hand is focused on the look and layout of a product. How does the product look, where are touchpoints located, and what images are included are just a few of the questions asked in UI design. In simple terms, UI focuses on the aesthetics of a product to maintain both appearance and intuitive functionality for consumers.
While different, the two concepts are clearly interconnected. User interface design can impact user experience and vice-versa. UI is the look and feel of a website and can be an extremely important aspect of maintaining a positive user experience that may be considered in user experience design.
To summarize, UX focuses on a user’s full experience from first contact to last whereas UI focuses on the visual touchpoints that allow users to interact with a product.
Why Does UX Matter?
Now that you understand what UX is you may be asking yourself why it matters? Why is it important for modern IT firms to care about UX design? Now more than ever with competition in every marketplace, reputation and consumer satisfaction mean everything. UX design is consumer focused and aims to fulfill their needs and desires in making an interaction seamless. The goal is to provide a positive user experience that leaves the user feeling satisfied.
If you can provide a seamless user experience by allowing consumers to access what they need with minimal confusion, or restraint, it will assist in positive brand recognition and building a solid reputation amongst your intended audience. In addition, a positive user interaction makes it possible for you to define customer journeys on your interface that are more conducive to business success. Just ask yourself, are you more likely to use a company’s product or service if you’ve experienced seamless delivery? Would you be a repeat consumer of a product or service that left you feeling frustrated, confused, or lost?
The result of not considering UX design will lead to losses in customer return as they may get frustrated and shift their efforts to a competing brand. It is for this simple reason that UX matters and should be at the forefront of a firm’s consideration in any business or product decision.
Take your website for example. If a user encounters a bad experience or doesn’t find what they’re looking for they are likely to leave and seek the product or service elsewhere.
Why is UX Often Overlooked by Most IT Firms?
Lack of resources to do UX or UX research
One of the most obvious reasons that UX is often overlooked by most IT firms is the lack of resources to implement UX design or conduct UX related research. This lack of resources can be attributed to many factors like time, money, project management, or simply the inability to recognize the value of UX.
Time and money limit a firm’s resources to do UX research because of project deadlines and budget. Firms that see the value in UX design will often sacrifice UX when push comes to shove in an effort to spend the limited time, money, and resources available on more features for their client. There may also be a lack of resources to UX because UX is unseen or misunderstood. UX design when effective removes customer hurdles and increases satisfaction which are both intangible assets meaning it may be difficult for the firm to put a price on the intangible practice of UX.
Lack of UX Leadership & Position Within a Firm
IT firms that lack leadership in the areas of UX or UI will often overlook the value of user expense design when working with their customers. Without a strong UX leadership presence there is nobody to establish, drive and articulate a vision. Nobody is championing the pursuit of user focused design.
Firms, like most people, follow their leaders. Without a leadership group with a focus in UX, it may become an afterthought. Without UX leadership in a firm, there is no force pushing the agenda and values of user experience design and as such it may be overlooked.
An issue that goes hand in hand with UX leadership is the reality that in some firms UX design does not have a strong, sustainable position within the firm. Firms where UX design is an afterthought suffer from a lack of influence in the area of UX design. This may be attributed to a lack of UX leadership or simply to a lack of understanding of UX design and its value.
Lack of UX Processes
UX design by a firm is only as good as the firms’ processes. A UX process, much like a design thinking approach is the process in which a firm completes a UX design. Firms that lack robust, well-defined processes often undertake inefficient UX design. As a result, the firm will often lose sight of the value of UX design which may lead them to overlook its value during the product design process.
Why Companies Need Firms Who Care About UX Design
UX design, while often misunderstood, is a key element of the product design process. With competition in all marketplaces at an all-time high, companies must ensure they gain and retain customers and consumers. That is why companies need to work with firms that make UX design a priority. Firms that put time, resources, and attention into UX design can help businesses create user experiences that leave consumers satisfied.
Working with firms that focus on UX design will help to fulfill users’ needs and provide meaningful consumer interactions. These positive experiences will keep users loyal to your product or brand and assist in building a reputable brand, increasing customer retention and conversion.