Great User Experiences

Great user experiences don’t just happen by chance; they happen when you involve your users and review the entire experience from beginning to end.

To be an interaction designer you must understand some basic design principles and rules, but to create great user experiences you must understand your user.

I’ve thought a lot about great user experiences and have always tried to create great experiences in every one of my designs.

Unfortunately, I’ve failed and I’ll be the first to admit it!

Creating great designs every time is impossible. We all like to think we do it, but we don’t. It’s not that we are bad designers. It’s not that we don’t try really hard. It’s not that our team has let us down or that we’ve let them down. It’s not that the stakeholder doesn’t understand what they want or need. And it’s not that we don’t always understand our users.

I won’t try to speak for anyone else, but I’ve failed because I’m not applying UX methods throughout the entire process. I’d like to think it’s the process that’s failing me, the final design, or sadly the user, but can I really blame the process, whether it’s waterfall, agile or wagilefall? No matter which method the team chooses it’s our job to make the process work. It’s the UX teams job to fit every aspect of UX; including research, early concept design, usability testing, and iterations of each, into the process.

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t an easy task. It will be even harder if you’re a UX team of 1. In fact, it’s probably not possible to hit every aspect of the user centered design process, but try to consider each step and to plan for each step prior to getting to far into the project. One of the greatest points I can make is to quit worrying about dates.

I can’t stress this enough. Dates suck! Dates promote quantity, not quality.

A date is a great way to tell you’re employees that they have just stepped into a room with a bomb and if they are not done before it gets to zero, they are inadequate in more than one way.

Employees rush and try to piece together the conversation without really taking a step back and looking at it in multiple ways. Like I said, a design is typically never correct or optimal the first time, so, we need to iterate and conceptualize multiple approaches and test with users multiple times.

Conceptualizing and testing multiple times is the only way…again, the only way…to get to a great design.