7 Feb 2017

Experience your UX – How to Conduct a UX Review by Yourself

by Ciklum

User experience (UX) design can make or break your relationships with your customers. With the right planning, you can create memorable experiences for users that lead to loyalty.

UX design makes sure that products and interfaces are user friendly and make sense. But UX is more holistic than that: it is all interactions and experiences people have with your product, services and company overall. It encompasses not only usability and accessibility, but also how the user feels and whether users meet their objectives.

 

UX versus user interface (UI) design

Both UX and UI design are key components of any software project, but they are not equivalent. UI design focuses on visual items and how a product functions on the surface. UI is like a snapshot of the product during the journey, and UX is the user’s whole journey through the product. Generally, UX design comes before UI design.

 

Why is high-quality UX design so important?

Good UX design creates not only a good first impression, but also a lasting impression. The right UX design creates enjoyable and productive experiences. It should make users want to return time and time again. This higher customer satisfaction will come with more conversions and increased revenue. Solid UX design can also make you stand out from your competitors.

Studies have found that companies with effective UX have increased their revenue by 37%, and that almost 90% of customers would start doing business with a competitor due to a poor experience.

Since user experience is key to success, it is important to conduct reviews of your UX design that will enable you to find usability issues and fix them. Whether you already have a product or you are about to launch a product, you can benefit from a UX review.

 

Before your review

Begin your review with an understanding of your current and target users so that you can embody them throughout the process. You should know your users’ objectives, motivations and preferences, as well as their expectations of the product. Determine the type of users you have and whether they are your actual target audience. Ask yourself what the bigger picture is that the experience fits into. If you do not have this information on your users, conduct user research. Depending on your budget and capacity, research methods include questionnaires, stakeholder interviews and focus groups.

Research should be qualitative, such as an analysis of consumer behavior, as well as quantitative, such as the number of users that follow a particular pattern of behavior, or the most popular landing pages with high bounce rates. This information will help you focus your review and improve targeted outcomes.

Facebook conducted user research on its articles, and found that the articles were not optimally formatted for reading on mobile devices. They also found that slow connections were hindering people in nations such as Brazil, India, Mexico and the Philippines from reading articles on Facebook.  As a result, they changed to their Instant Article format, and here is the result:

Facebook UX UI

 

Stay on target

Keep in mind the purpose of the review. It should include business goals, user needs, opportunities for conversions and engagement, and solutions. Usability problems range from cosmetic to catastrophic. You can note all issues, but rank and prioritize so that you can then act on them.

Assemble a cross-department team, including designers, developers and strategists, and appoint a decision maker. Ensure that they know the goals, desired outcomes and timeline. Be as objective as possible, and act like a typical user instead of an ideal user. You want to truly experience what a user would do while interacting with your product.

 

Review with best practices in mind

Use the information you obtained about your users to create simple personas and build user flows to guide the review. Move through the user flows, considering the user goals on each page and looking for problem areas that affect conversions and engagement.

UX design should address effectiveness, efficiency, simplicity and reliability. It should make decisions for users, especially ones that make things easier for them, such as automatically filling fields and creating templates. People get overwhelmed when faced with too many choices, but they also want to feel at home and in control, so make sure that you strike the right balance. Other key aspects of good UX design include using pictures instead of words when possible, avoiding clutter and interruptions, and ensuring safety nets.

 

Questions to ask during your review:

  • Are customers’ needs being met?
  • Does it help consumers do what they need to do?
  • How does it make users feel?
  • Are the UX design patterns clear for users?
  • Does the design accommodate the overall experience?
  • Why should users choose your product over a competitor’s?
  • Are there inconsistencies in content, and does the content speak to your personas?
  • Do you have to scramble to find the most important items?
  • Does it draw on stories and present a consistent brand?

For more information about UX and how it can improve your customers’ interactions with your company and your products, feel free to contact the Ciklum experts.