Stop expecting your designer to figure out your mobile app UX by themselves!
We could easily extrapolate this to web apps, most other types of software products and any kind of product for that matter, but since my experience is with mobile apps, I’ll keep it to this as an example.
Steve Jobs once famously said ‘Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works’. But let’s see what Wikipedia tells us about UX:
User experience (UX) is a person’s emotions and attitudes about using a particular product, system or service. It includes the practical, experiential, affective, meaningful and valuable aspects of human-computer interaction and product ownership. Additionally, it includes a person’s perceptions of system aspects such as utility, ease of use and efficiency. User experience may be subjective in nature to the degree that it is about individual perception and thought with respect to a product or system. User experience varies dynamically, constantly modifying over time due to changing usage circumstances. Simplified, user experience is about how a user interacts with, and experiences, a product.
Ok, so we’re past the belief that UX is just about where to place the menu, a button and what shape and color they should have.
So in order to achieve the attributes of a good user experience, this one person that is designing the UX is supposed to be:
- your software business analyst and product manager (perfectly understanding your business, your objectives, your targeted conversions and translate them into the best software solution prioritized into funnels of what you want your users to be doing in your app)
- your marketing and sales team (researching and knowing everything about your target users, their behaviour and what they respond to)
- a UI designer (designs eye-candy graphics, stays up to date with newest trends)
- interactive designer (very important, and most UI designers don’t do this. This is the dynamic part of the interaction: transition between screens, animations, loaders, swipes, etc)
- a developer (knows what can be implemented programmatically and what not (you can’t just draw whatever you want), knows which is the most efficient way to maximize performance or/and knows the best compromise between achieving an objective and performance)
- a product manager (makes important design decisions regarding how to treat different scenarios that may affect different users in different ways, etc)
- your support team and/or data analyst (talks to users, get their feedback, follows your analytics and metrics, withdraws conclusions and iterates the product into a better UX)
It’s simply absurd to expect one single person to have expertise in all of these areas. User experience is not made when drawing the design, user experience is a process you start with your first discussion with a client (if you build the app for somebody else) or from your first research on the market (if you build your own product) until the product is released and even passed that. User experience is a process that can forever be improved based on user feedback (given intently by them through reviews, contact form, etc), and data analytics (by following metrics of what they actually do in the app).
Based on the above, it’s clearly that UX is a team’s work and not a one person (UI/UX designer) job. However, if we’d have to choose one person in this team that contributes the most to the UX, that would probably be the product person, rather than the designer.
When building apps for our clients here at Adonis Software, most of our clients ask about our UI/UX designer, this one person that will supposedly solve their entire business for them through their magical knowledge of everything. I usually bring the entire team to that meeting and present all of them as our UX designer.
Most of designers’ title is now ‘UI/UX designer’. Yes, it’s extremely important that your designer has UX knowledge, just as is that they understand the importance of working closely with the entire team for creating the best possible UX, but don’t let that title mislead you into expecting everything from this one person.
Steve Jobs was a product guy. NO, Steve Jobs was ‘the product guy’. If he would have just expected his designers to figure out the user experience of Apple’s products by themselves we wouldn’t now enjoy the amazing and seamless experience we have with them. He understood that designing a good UX product is a team’s effort, and probably most important contribution was his own genius product vision, which revolutionized the world we live in.
My name is Ancu Radu, Founder at Adonis Software, we’ve been building highly successful mobile apps with millions of downloads for the past decade.
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