Puzzle London’s Approach to Mobile First UX
Every so often a hiring trend emerges which sees every agency scramble around, desperately trying to hire one or more new employees with flashy, new titles in an attempt to reassure themselves and their clients that they are at the bleeding edge. Remember when every developer being hired by an agency was rebranded a Creative Technologist?
And in recent times one of the hottest and trendiest terms to come out of the creative department is the phrase, “I am a UX designer”.
Rightly though more and more brands are starting to realise the critical role that user experience design has in the success and longevity of a digital product, and simultaneously, as if by magic, a vast proportion of the creative industry claim to specialise in this, once niche, area of design.
Almost all designers working in digital would have had to (at one point or another), design a website or product containing a user interface. Instinctively, that person would have had to ask themselves many questions; Where do I place the navigation? What piece of content is most important to the user? These sorts of questions scratch the surface of UX and are basic in nature. This is where the comparisons between a designer and true UX specialist end.
So we’ve established that a lot of designers are turning their hand to UX to make a quick buck but what are the ingredients required that make a brilliant UX designer?
In the creative world, user experience design is often metaphorically compared to that of an onion. Let’s look at this analogy as a mobile app. Every app has a core, this essentially being the key feature or most important content piece for the intended audience. The quality of this app from a UX point of view is then determined by a number of layers and how they fit together.
So what are these layers? These are essentially a set of ideals that a UX designer will consider when creating a digital product. And it’s the next part of the process that is absolutely key to differentiating between an average and great UX designer.
An average UX designer will get habitual in their work. As with any line of work, this is absolutely natural. If you find success in one project, why not use the same tried and tested formula again in the next?
There is a fundamental reason why this approach doesn’t work and also why great UX designers are highly sought after.
Almost every project you work on will have a different audience (even if it’s the same brand as the last project). Returning to the mobile app example, each audience will use their device in a different way and have their own set of requirements and expectations. For instance, a mother opening the music app on her phone will have a completely different set of requirements and expectations of that of her teenage son.
Because of this, at Puzzle we focus all of work around these four principles and how they affect the intended audience when creating a digital product:
Puzzle’s UX Principles
Discoverability – Is the product intuitive to use and navigate from the get-go? Does it require as little information and verbal prodding as possible?
Efficiency – Does the product allow users to complete tasks quickly and effectively? Will repeat-users find this product to be essential and feel the need to continue revisiting?
Enjoyability – Does this product entertain or delight your audience? Does it connect with them on an emotional level?
Performance – How robust is the interface and how quickly does it respond to user interactions?
These four UX design principles if applied will almost always result in a successful product that uniquely caters to its intended audience. It’s breaking the habit that is the difficult and almost un-natural part for UX Designers.