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User experience design plays an important role in product design process. But what is good user experience on earth? Is there any criterion? The following 5 user experience goals, listed in a logical order, may help you to find the right direction of user experience design ASAP and make you an excellent UX designer.
To give users what they need is the first goal of user experience design. Before using a product, people are mostly concerned about “whether it is useful?” “Will this product solve my problems?” So a product should meet the functional demands of users first (not only those existed demands, but also potential ones). Doing user research is a good way to find out users’ demands, but objectively, it’s hard to measure users’ needs precisely, even if it was huge company which has advanced user survey technologies.
For example, Facebook at the beginning didn’t take “making friends with strangers (say, a friend’s friend)” seriously as they believed that people only have curiosities on their surroundings; social network is essentially “a game among acquaintances”. However the data show that most of users like to expand their circles by adding strangers as their friends. Now social platform also contributes a lot to companies and brands who want more influence online. They put money and energy on operating an official page to promote their products. All of these are unexpected demands for the early designers. Thus, collecting users’ feedback constantly and make use of data or other materials to follow your users’ activities is also a key to meet users’ demands. If UX designers don’t give users what they want, the users will give a shit.
“Will I get what I want in a most simple, direct and quick way?” It would be better if you “Don’t make me think”.
The top-download games in app store are always those like “Don't Tap the White Tile”, which people can play without brains. This shows the laziness nature of human beings. But laziness is also an important drive of technology development. As a UX designer, we have no reason to go against it unless we want to make products that are “anti-human”.
How to design to give users what they want in the easiest way? First UX designers should be a mastery of the user stories & scenario of products. Which are important things that users pay much attention to? Which are secondary? How to simplify the operations by taking advantage of users’ habits? As to user interface, whether the flat design method should be adopted to enable users to get most information at the first sight. Besides, the usability of products also depends on the design tools you choose. A complicated-to-use prototype/wireframe tool is a bad design itself, so how can we make good UI or product prototype with it?
Many products have similar functions, which can all meet the users’ needs to some extent. But only few of them are favored by users, why? As a music lover, I go to a concert at least once a month. Among these concerts of any scale, there are some which thrilled me from start to finish. It seems that the design of a music concert has nothing to do with product design, but as I have been immerging in design circle for many years I gradually found that an exciting concert is just like a product offering good user experience, both of them give you the right thing at the right time.
At an evening dinner, the starter is always delicate but of low volume. Gradually, under the influence of some spirits, the main course was served, at this moment the light is warmest and the atmosphere is the best. The ending part is usually made easy. This is a very good example to explain that “UX Designers should have a sense of rhythm (of product)”. When designing video player software, how many “ss” should the “black screen” last to draw the users’ attention, but never make them feel impatient? Why some social platforms only allow its users to access more functions after a period of time? Those are all questions that user experience designers should concern about.
“Whether the product is attractive enough for me to use it for a long term?”, and even “becomes part of my life” and “makes me addicted to it”.
In the article “UX/UI Designer Skills Valued by Facebook” I mentioned that one important reason that Facebook became a huge social platform with over 200 million users is that FB knows the mental & psychological needs of users: people win others’ attention on Facebook, which they didn’t get in real life. “Helping people to build a strong connection with external world; enabling them to follow and be followed, these are what a social platform was born for.” A functionally powerful product will no doubt be favored by people. But a product which forms a new habit has immeasurable potential. Electric light, mobile phones, new transportations; Wechat, Whatsapp, these are all among the latter.
“Whether the product is good enough to motivate me to become one of its promoters?”
If a designer set the above 4 user experience goals when designing a product, he would be an excellent designer. The last goal, as far as I can see, is the inherent property of an excellent design: to mobilize its users. As we all know, users are the best spokesmen of your products. Companies may seek help from all kinds of resources to promote their products: KOL, famous blogger, web celebrities. However, none of them is as powerful as users. You may ask: why does product promotion has something to do with designers? If UX designers can build a relationship between the users and potential users, for example, put a “sharing on Twitter” button on the right place, there might be more people will join in (this is a method of most basic level). For another example, users need to cooperate with others when using the product (like game products). In short, to mobilize your users and make them your promoters is also an important user experience goals that good UX designers should set.