User experience (UX) is a term that is often considered to encompass a dark mysterious art. In fact it simply covers all aspects of how people interact with digital interfaces and devices. As the name suggests it deals primarily with the experiential aspects of this interaction; so how a person feels as they use a website, or what values and perceptions they apply to an App before and during use. In order to ensure maximum user satisfaction and engagement with a website most agencies will follow a user experience design process. These processes differ but at Hookson we adopt a three-fold approach when designing websites and apps: research, design and test. Project specifics may have a bearing on the work carried out but the stages are the same.
The first step is researching the requirements of the website or App. These often fall into one of three categories: business expectations and goals, content demands and user requirements. The aim of this first stage is to identify and prioritise these in consultation with all stakeholders (especially users).
With the requirements established the design stage can begin. During this time the design team will create wireframes, working prototypes, layout designs, and colour samples and image treatments.
Once the designs are ready they can be tested against the findings of the research stage. With a clear set of requirements this testing stage highlights any defects or weaknesses in the designs, or indeed any limitations in the original findings. With the designs evaluated any revisions can be carried out and the process repeated until they are fit for purpose.
Throughout the process it is essential that a user group is formed to provide input and feedback at key stages. UX is very subjective by nature so having a varied group of people to turn to will ensure the project meets the needs of the most important stakeholder, the user.