Planning a good UX

The expectations of digital application users are steadily increasing. It is, therefore, all the more important that you do not try force a solution to your problem from outside competitors. You have to remember that just because a solution worked for them, does not mean it will work the same for you. A system for creating a concept is at the heart of a project. Here I show you which system I use to ensure good user experience for web projects.

Blind user experience

At that time, I handled web projects with a “lets do it” mentality. The customer described what they wanted and what they found “good” and “not so good”. Their vision was influenced by examples of similar websites of the competitors. Then I contributed my input. This resulted in requirements for the website. These requirements served as a rough draft for the project. The requirements were not fixed – depending on what you saw- where and “even better” than the previous inspiration found, goals and implementation paths were added. Taking this approach, I would get a good or sometimes moderate result, but it was never precise to what the customer wanted. The UX has become apparent only at the end.

Blind user experience works conditionally

The simpler a problem, the more neglectful a web strategy can be treated. If we think back ten years ago, website requirements were much more primitive than they are today.

Primitive requirements = low complexity

For typical small to middle size companies, a website was “nice to have” as it usually presented the company and its services. When setting a specific target (presenting a company and its services) you can reach the goal without a web strategy. The success rate is high – not because of the company or its services – but because of the large target.

The success rate is high – not because of the company or its services – but because of the large target.

Web / App UX

Nowadays, a web designer faces other problems. The user has very different expectations of a website than back then. This increased expectation comes from both sides, including the website operator. A briefing can fill several pages. Add to that, websites and other nice apps the customer likes. Without a systematic approach to these problems, nobody will be happy in the long run. Right here is the transition from web designer to UX designer. It’s about creating a nice and targeted user experience. In doing so, it is necessary to look at the problem holistically and to counter all empathy involved.

Enter Garrett’s Model

Garrett’s model illustrates the elements of the user experience very nicely.

The components of the user experience, presented in Garret’s model.

The approach here is from the inside out.

1. Strategy

In the first step you determine the visitors’ expectation of the website as well as the expectations of the website operator to the visitor.

Expectation of the user = buy book
Expectations of the website = selling books

2. Requirements

The defined strategy is equipped with specific requirements. This leads to concrete acceptance criteria, also called Definition of Done (DoD).

Acceptance criteria:

  • Search with search suggestions
  • Suggestions of similar books
  • One click buy
  • Offer e-book alternative

3. Information structure

The necessary information is structured here. A macro view of the user journey helps to structure orders for queries and, if necessary, more oriented results.

4. The Core

The information core that was created based on the requirements is now meaningfully arranged. The information is arranged in blocks of text, images, buttons and navigation elements. This becomes the skeleton of the website.

5. The design of the interface

After the skeleton stands, additional elements become appealing. Dynamic functions and animations contribute to a positive user experience.

As you can see on the last step: The design of a user interface makes up only a fraction of a web project.

It is important here that every step is subordinate to the previous step. Any decision in the design should support the previously specified structure. The Core must conform to the ideal representation of the information structure. The information structure must fulfill all requirements and omit everything that does not fulfill it … etc.

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Complex problem solving to a website can be systematically tackled with Garrett’s Model. The defined goals and requirements guide you through the process. It will create as much as necessary but as little as possible. Whether certain navigation elements, colors and icons are used, will no longer be a matter of gut feeling. These decisions must be proven by the concept. This results in customized solutions for the objectives of the website.

The difference between UX Design and web design shimmers through here. A holistic view of the goals of the user and the website is guaranteed.

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Maruan has founded marumedia, a small digital product design agency based in Hamburg, Germany. Furthermore, he does consult in UX/UI design and development. He created to share his journey, learnings, pains, and lessons he encountered while doing so.

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