Many years ago when I first started in the IT/Design/Marketing industry, I called myself a “web designer.” I would create websites for companies based on my unique style sense and hand them off to customers. During this time, even being a designer myself, I had never heard of or thought of User Experience (UX). I naturally made my designs targeted towards MY customer (the business who wanted a website) and subsequently towards myself. Those sites may have looked beautiful, or at least nice, and obviously my customers liked them, but there was a major key missing from the process and thus from the designs.
The problem is you, as a business owner, may never have heard of UX; however, you're suppose to know how it helps and benefits you. Even myself, many years ago, didn't know: so how is someone who is not in the IT industry suppose to know?
Fortunately UX has been more prominent with the massive explosion of apps and start-ups around the world. UX jumped on and grabbed hold of these industries and piggy-backed itself into the public eye. Unfortunately, it has also become a watered down, diluted version of its once magnificent self due to buzz-words such as “Easy to Use,” and “Simple.”
I'll explain in a later post why phrases such as “Easy to Use” and “Simple” are strategic buzz-words, which don't mean anything. And why you should say, “We will rate our success by metrics such as time on task, success rate, and miss-clicks, thus proving we have created an Easy to Use [insert product here].”
There are many explanations and definitions of it, but I like to think of it as a combination of Marketing and Design. Now, people who are familiar with UX may disagree, and that's fine. But first, please let me explain my reasoning.
Without knowing your target Audience, and without having extensive knowledge regarding them, marketing (and design) is essentially shooting a gun in the dark hoping to hit something; it’s not effective. Try getting any sort of funding (Venture Capital or a loan from the bank) without knowing your market statistics: It’s not going to happen. You will be laughed out of the room and told to go do your homework.
So why is design any different? It isn't. The best designers who don't practice or consider themselves a UX designer do this process naturally. Or they have a natural talent for understanding people. But in the end they're still doing the same thing as everyone else in the industry, hoping what they design works. This is called assumption design(ing). Now, using the same analogy as before, they may be using a shotgun instead of a pistol, but they're still shooting into the dark.
UX consists of many aspects that cover a wide variety of processes: User Centred Design, Information Architecture, Stakeholders, and Experience-mapping, to name a few (and I mean a few). But what it boils down it is this:
This sounds noble and all, but what does it have to do with me, a business owner
So now I have your attention!
By targeting designs for your customer and not for you as the business (or even for the designer), the end product will give you a higher Return on Investment for the services you've purchased. If the designer knows exactly what the customer is looking for, these customer goals will influence the design, resulting in a happier and more satisfied customer. If customers are happy and satisfied, not only are they going to be more willing to spend money in the first place, they'll think of you first when looking for a company with your product or service.
I will go into further detail in this blog regarding the different aspects of UX, but this introduction should give you a brief glimpse into what UX is, and how it helps you.
If you have any questions regarding this post, or regarding a project you have mulling around in your head, contact me (not just us, but me) at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading, and have a great day :).