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Getting the User Experience Right

Introduction

On a project where user experience and development teams are separated, it may be the case that a designer would build a design based on their own experience and the requirements of that particular feature and hand that over for a developer to implement. Often, aesthetics are one of the driving forces of the design. Following the principles of UX, when a designer builds a design, or an architect comes up with a structure, they think about the assumptions they’ve made. If different assumptions can be reasonably made and it is unclear which ones are correct, then different designs are built that each focus on different assumptions.

Behaves as a user expects it to

These designs are then tested with real users to check whether those assumptions are correct, and ensure there are no hidden issues in the design and that it behaves as a user expects it to. One of the biggest indicators that a team is working in a modern way is how often they do user testing, and how they do it. A team that user tests constantly might be new to it and trying to find the balance between this new way of working and the old, whereas teams that never user test may be stuck in a traditional mindset.

Conclusion

User testing at its core seems deceptively simple. You simply invite users to interact with your web site and give them tasks to complete, watching them as they do so. It’s important to not only watch what they are doing and saying, but also their body language, as this can suggest frustration or other problems that might not be obvious from what they’re saying or doing. However, correctly designing your test and selecting the right users to test with can be quite tricky, which is where the role of dedicated researchers come in.

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