We recently spoke about UIs (User Interfaces for those who were not privy to my fabulous blog post of yore). Well now I’m going to take you back another step and try to hit on the whole User Experience (Get it? UX) – which is really the first step.

You can’t make a great UI without first understanding what a great User Experience should be.

Sometimes it’s easy… super easy. Doorknobs for example, offer a great user experience. Somebody needs/wants to get through a door to the inside/outside, they walk up… turn the handle and – wahlah! They get what they wanted/needed! Success!

Usually it’s not that easy. But whether the UX is easy or more difficult to design, it can still be amazing to the end-user. You just have to think of them first!

So how do we think of the user first? Here is the way I initially approach it.

The UX process:
When I try to create an amazing customer-centric user experience, my first task is to really get to know the audience. Who are the people we talking to and what are their goals and needs?

It all starts there. We ask the users, we go through previous data we might have, we do our research.

Then we break those users down into more distinct personas. We more than likely have a variety of users who have the same (or very similar) need or desire, but are not the same in how they would typically get to them. They think differently and interact with things differently based on a variety of factors.

There are also customers who have a different need, but what we do or the product we provide will also solve for that as well. So we try to break those down as well so we can begin mapping the best possible way to allow them to get to where they ultimately desire to be.

Once we have that laid out we can begin looking at the touch-points (and channels) it will take to get them there and map out a way to make it as easy and beneficial as possible to get to that goal.

Now it’s a matter of making sure to build this principle and thought process into each channel of consumer interaction (on and offline). It’s not just about the web or the shop or the smart phone, but all the pieces together that give the truly valuable user experience.

And we test. We test with customer conversations, surveys, usability and whatever other ways we feel have validity with this particular user.

Once you have that, you can begin building and creating the products/ processes/ layouts across all channels (or even just one). And here we get to test it some more, because as people and their interaction with new technology as well as media changes, so will these touch-points.

Nothing ever stays the same for long. Everything is evolving and the more we test and evolve with it the more we give the user the best experience they can get… and isn’t that the goal?

Isn’t that what you would want for yourself?

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