Chances are, you haven’t heard about User Experience Design. When most people think about technology and the work that it takes to put together an application or website, the image of rows of zeroes and ones colliding to transform an input into an output is often conjured. Lines of code neatly put together by men with far too much body hair and far too little dedication to personal hygiene and sunlight.
Despite you not knowing what UX Design is, if you’ve spent any time online or in a digital space, your daily life has been made easier in almost invisible ways by a team of experts. That’s right; increasingly, there is a move towards a user-focused design ethos which is intent on getting users from point A to point B as smoothly as possible.
At the intersection of creativity, psychology and computer science we find the UX designer, who is, at the most primal level, the voice of the user in a work space. They are the ones who say: “Hey. I think we could make this better, easier to use, more comfortable.”
Don’t confuse this with User Interface design (UI design) which is more about the aesthetics. UX design focuses on functionality not, in the traditional sense, creativity. UX design is all about empathy with the user, justified design and frequent, calculated feedback.
Studies show that, not only does cognisance of UX design elements improve Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for businesses, but a swift, consistent system can basically make a user feel more happy after use due to endorphins being released in greater quantities in successfully designed systems. Systems that don’t work effectively can lead to internalised feelings of self-blame; something no business wants associated with their brand.
Not convinced that UX design is important? Take Virgin Airlines America; a company that relies on a quality online user-flow in order to fill flights and invariably make a profit. Most airline websites are a UX disaster. The assumption is that, because there is a demand for flights, tickets will be sold, regardless of ease of booking seats. With the help of Work & Co, Virgin did a revamp of their UX in everything from web design to the flights themselves.
The results were incredible. Conversion from user to consumer increased by 10%, reduced phone-call traffic about web-related issues by 20% and made their website the fastest loading booking site with a 2 second loading time. That equates to hundreds of thousands more tickets sold that would have gone to rival airlines.
To quote Steve Jobs, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” It’s a motto that small businesses and large corporations are taking to heart. In 2015, the Design Management Institute showed that companies that invested in good design outperformed their counterparts in the stock markets by 228% over 10 years.
What this means, in short, is that UX design is a key part in developing the leading businesses of the future and that tying your horse to that particular wagon – as a business or a prospective employee – would be nothing less than inspired wisdom.