Putting users first: A user experience designer’s perspective

Man working on user experience design at the office.

By Tobias Bonavoglia (ERNI Switzerland)

Have you ever wondered how the products you use every day are designed? Meet a user experience designer who believes that users are essential to their professional life. In this article, you’ll learn how designers create products that meet users’ needs and preferences through user-centred design. Get a glimpse into the design process and see why putting users first is crucial for creating enjoyable and effective products.

Dear Users: You are the most essential thing in my life. Yes, that’s what I’m saying right at the beginning. But I must put that into perspective: you are the most essential thing in my professional life. As soon as I open my MacBook in the morning, I think of you all day long!

I’m sure you’re wondering who is speaking to you so enthusiastically. I am a user experience designer. I design the experience you have with a product. The product can be an app, software or something physical.

When I start my work, I’m first interested in everything about you: Who are you, what do you want to achieve, and in what context would you use the product? It may be that I am approaching you for the first time. But I may indeed also look to see if there is information about you in other places, and then I’ll make a first rough prototype. If the product is an app, it could be a few simple sketches on paper. With that, I check in and ask whether you understand the sequence of personal views, for example, or whether my menu labels guide you well.

Your feedback is then the basis for my further work. I incorporate it and refine my prototype with further details. Now the prototype already looks something like the final product. The different interaction possibilities are visible, and there are menus with labels. The prototype is no longer designed on paper but in a great programme like Figma – possibly even in such a way that you can click and something will happen. Maybe you’ve already guessed: that’s precisely what I’m coming back to you with. Not to annoy you, no: it is simply vital for me to involve you again and to clarify whether I am still on the right track.

What does the right way mean? The right way means that there is a product you can use and enjoy using. And what that looks like exactly may not be clear to you at the beginning, and certainly not to me. That’s what I’m working towards with your feedback, and I regularly stop to test along the way.

Source: https://www.seobility.net/en/wiki/User-Centered_Design

But wait: Is the concept ready now? No. Because now comes an essential touchstone. It’s you again: I will comprehensively test my concept and finally see if it meets your needs. It’s getting a bit more formal now: according to a “script”, you test my design solution and give feedback on everything you still notice.

The results are evaluated very precisely. It can also happen that I go back a step. In other words, I revise the prototype until the design solution meets your needs.

As I said at the beginning, everything revolves around you!

In the end, the truth is up to you! You say whether you understand my product concept, whether it helps you and whether you like it. That’s precisely why I always want to involve you in my conception. Ultimately, I want my product to put a smile on your face, or let’s say that at least the corners of your mouth go up a bit when you use it.

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