What is user experience (UX) design and why is it so big now? Why should you learn the fundamentals of UX design as a developer?
Well, technology is taking over the globe, and a developer who is well-versed in all things UX is (and will be) in high demand.
If you’re a developer looking to start your UX design journey, you’ll definitely love this post. We outline 7 user experience design fundamentals you should learn as you seek to advance your career.
We strongly urge you to keep these tips in mind as you find your place in the intricate world of UX design.
Seeing as there is a lot to learn here today, let’s weigh anchor and set sail without further ado. Enjoy and don’t leave without sharing your thoughts in the comment section at the end.
7 UX Design Fundamentals You Should Learn As a Developer
Developers usually code. You don’t work on the interfaces that users see when using your app, website or product. As such, developers usually miss the mark as far as designing the perfect user interfaces go. But this can change with the right info and motivation.
Read on to learn more.
#1. Read and Research
It is okay that you know your way around code and what not, but UX design is an entirely different field, and it’s broad. The only way you can hope to hack UX design is by constantly learning.
According to Maryville University, “there’s always something new to learn in the computer software industry. Companies need tech experts who can keep track of the trends — in apps, agile systems, interface design — and use it to their strategic advantage.”
UX design is a fast-paced environment, and if you ever hope to make an impact, you must keep up with the latest news and techniques.
Before you can ever dream of being a developer with UX design skills, you must learn the ropes. Read blogs and websites that discuss UX design, such as uxplanet.org. Heck, take a course if need be – just keep learning.
There is a lot of competition from UX designers, and you can’t beat them if you don’t know their ways. That being said let us move on to the next tip.
#2. Keep the User in Mind at All Times
Be empathetic from the word go. Empathy allows you to design and develop solutions with the user in mind. Keep in mind that you’re building products for more than one type of user/device, so ensure everyone is well taken care of.
Put yourself in the shoes of your users and see things from their perspective. Doing so will help you to write better code and build solutions that the users love. The opposite is true; a developer that doesn’t focus on the user (but on the code/app/website etc) will build self-limiting solutions.
#3. Choose the Right UX Design Tools
As we’ve already mentioned, UX design is a broad field. There are many steps involved if you’re looking to provide an amazing user experience that culminates in tangible results. Each step has its share of tools that make the work not only doable but also enjoyable.
If you need pointing in the right direction, here are a couple of tools:
- For user research, you use a tool such as SurveyMonkey or TypeForm
- You can use Figma or Wireframe.cc for wireframing
- For prototyping, feel free to use MockPlus or InVision
The above are just a few examples; there are a million and one UX design tools out there. Picking the right tools for the job means the difference between success and failure.
#4. Provide Context
If the user isn’t aware of where they are while using your app or website, they will hit the exit button and never come back. You know this is true, or haven’t you ever been on a website or app that confused the living daylights out of you? It was not a nice experience, right?
“Ensure that users are contextually aware of where they are within their journey.”—Jordan Julien
Publishers add titles, chapters and page numbers in books to provide users with context, and you should do the same with your products. Context keeps the user’s focus, so you can direct it however you wish. Lose the user along the way, and your entire design is a flop.
#5. Be Intuitive and Learnable
You feel it in your gut that you have just the product to compete with existing solutions. That’s great, but how intuitive is it? Is it easy to understand and use like the existing solutions in your niche? If you’re building a social platform, for instance, is it easy to use like Facebook or Twitter?
If your app or website isn’t intuitive, can you claim you offer great user experience? Ensure that users can understand and use your product like they’ve used it a million times before. It goes without saying that nobody wants to use a product that’s ridiculously difficult to understand, so dumb it down.
#6. Reward Users
There is a reason why gamification is an effective and growing trend among online entrepreneurs. As human beings, we love free stuff and a little competition. It’s psychology; we love surprises and rewards, which is why you play mobile games continuously just to score points.
You can use this psychological technique in your favor as a developer. Make using your app, website or product a rewarding experience. You know, make the user feel that you want them to come back and you’re even willing to reward them for just coming back.
See how you get daily login rewards everyday you use an app? That right there is great user experience and psychology at work.
#7. Be Human
When most of your day is spent writing code, you can quickly forget you’re creating solutions for other human beings, not machines. Designers and developers alike are guilty of this, which often results in solutions that aren’t human-friendly.
As opposed to being rigid, create experiences that are approachable, trustworthy and transparent. In other words, strive to provide human interactions over machine-like interactions. For instance, use human-friendly error messages as opposed to lazy error messages that only a computer can understand.
Poor user experience results in low conversion rates, which is bad for your bottom line. As a developer looking to create solutions that offer measurable results, it is paramount that you learn all you can about better UX design.
This post acts as a beacon to guide you on your UX design journey. It’s not an exhaustive list, so please share your tips and thoughts with us in the comment section below.