Last month, we gave a brief introduction to user-centric design. We discussed some successful applications, as well as some ways it can go horribly wrong. It remains clear, however, that your user needs to be at the front of your design.
This month, we’re going to talk a little bit about how to do that in practice. Just like a car gets us from A to B, your app needs to drive the user through the experience without bumps, breakdowns or getting horribly lost.
DO: Get to know your users on a deep level
We need to get past demographics and into the psychographics of your target users. What do they worry about? What makes them smile? What’s their definition of ‘easy to use’?
DO: Let their goals be the driving force
This is easy to absorb in theory, but in practice, you’ll be quickly and easily led down a path that serves your own ends. For example, adding a ‘subscribe to our blog’ button might seem like a good idea to you, but does it truly facilitate the completion of your users’ goals?
DO: Focus on simplicity
Simplicity is king. Make it easy for the user to use, understand and navigate. Too complicated and they will get lost and lose interest in the app. You need to keep your user engaged and at ease.
DO: Create structure
The overall user interface should have a structurally sound architecture, with consistent elements and behaviours throughout.
DON’T: Focus purely on function
The design process should always be user-driven; don’t allow functionality to own the experience. If a function doesn’t add to UX continuity, you may have to consider dropping it (or rebuilding from scratch!).
DON’T: Avoid scope creep
Added complexity decreases the quality of the user experience - resist it at all costs! Instead, focus on making your key features transparent and simple to pick up.
DON’T: Use redundant information
Choosing what information your user needs to progress can be a tricky problem - redundant, useless information breaks the experience as much as the lack of good info. Try to eliminate redundancy and take implicit communication as far as you can. Iconography and visibility are key elements here.
We hope that’s provided you with some food for thought! You can learn more about a quality design process by taking a look our five stages of design here.