The 8 Commandments of Creating an Awesome User Experience

The 8 Commandments of Creating an Awesome User Experience from UIGarage
Philippe Hong

Updated on November 14, 2016

If you’re a UX designer, I know two things about you already: you’re creative and a mad scientist, too. That’s because, to execute the perfect user experience, you must be both. On one hand, you need to be imaginative, clever, and forward-thinking with your design. Your design should delight the user and give them a feeling of amusement. On the other hand, you need to follow a set of rules if you have any hope of succeeding. This is where the science comes in. Science helps you formulate and deliver a useful experience to your users. So, what’s the formula for a UX design that’s both pleasing to use and actionable? I’m glad you asked. Below, I’m sharing the 10 rules, or commandments, you should follow to deliver an amazing user experience every time. Put on your lab coat, and let’s get started.

Understand the What

There are two basic questions you need to ask yourself at the start of any UX project. Let’s break it down.

What does the user want?

Follow up questions to answer are: Why is the user here? What led the user to your website or app? Now that the user is on your site/ app, what do they hope to do next? Good design helps the user scratch an itch. It solves a problem quickly, but to do that, it has to first acknowledge what the problem is (from the user’s perspective).

What does the client want?

We already know the problem from the client’s perspective: the client wants to move product, convert leads to customers, and convert first time customers into repeat customers. But, challenge the client to think beyond macro and into the micro. Ask the client to define what they want for a specific page, or even a specific element on the page. For example, I want the user to be able to view a demo of our product here, or I want to guide the user into signing up for a trial. Having a clear vision will help you create a much more tailored user experience that meets the demands of both the client and the end user.

Design for the User

Have you come across designers who seem to design for other designers, but not for the end user? I know I have. I’ve also come across designers who design for the client instead of the end user. And, if we’re going to be completely honest here, I’ve also come across designers who design for their own ego exclusively. It fills me with cringe. There are tons of so-called UX designs that don’t consider the user at all. So, ask yourself:
  • Does my design make sense?
  • Is it useful?
  • Does it look good?
  • Would my grandmother be able to use it?
  Simply answering “yes” is not good enough. Follow up with “how”. Your design is only as good as it is useful. If a user cannot get where they need to go using your design, it’s failed– no matter how lovely or sophisticated your UX is.

Be Human

Your design should be equal parts: Approachable – Your design should be welcoming and friendly. It should never be arrogant or condescending to user. Familiar – Your design should have elements that the user is able to easily recognize and interact with. The user shouldn’t feel like “I’m lost, I don’t understand what I’m supposed to do here, am I missing something?” Helpful – Your design should gently guide the user to the desired action. It should be practical and sympathetic. These three elements are what you would expect in a face-to-face human interaction. They belong in your UX design.
Understand who the user is and what they want, and then create an experience with only that user in mind

Remember Who the User Actually Is

The user is probably not the client. As I mentioned above, the client and the user generally have two distinct pain points. Figuring out what the client wants is easy– they want to turn leads into customers. But figuring out what the user wants is a bit trickier. But the good news is that if you solve the user’s pain, you can also solve the client’s pain point at the same. So, always start with the user. Understand who the user is and what they want, and then create an experience with only that user in mind. You’ll probably need to educate the client on how the experience is useful for the user, so be prepared to do that.

Create User Personas

How do you define the user? The client is always the most helpful resource for figuring out who the user is. But, sometimes the client can be vague or speak in elevator-pitch-isms. So, to help the client paint a better picture, you may need to ask specific questions such as:
  • What are the demographics of the user?
  • What does the user already know about your product, if anything?
  • What sites does the user visit now?
  • What type of browsing or design experience do they expect from the website/ app?
  • What is the user’s definition of a successful experience?
 
The 8 Commandments of Creating an Awesome User Experience from UIGarage

Don’t hesitate to name your personas

Create a Seamless Experience

Here’s yet another question to ask yourself: What is the user’s journey and how does your design fit within that journey? Look at the user’s experience as a whole. Where does your design fit in the user’s entire interaction with the brand? For example, if you’re designing the UX on the app, but the user must first come through the home page, how does is the experience? Is it seamless? If you don’t want a disjointed user experience, you must map out the user’s journey and design elements that feel compatible and cohesive.

Embrace Feedback

I get it— feedback can be crushing, especially after you’ve poured so much of yourself into a project. But, feedback is an important part of the design process, and especially crucial when it comes to user experience. Don’t just wait for feedback to come to you, actively seek it out. Tools like UserTesting and Optimizely help you tweak your design and create the very best experience for your users. When you’re mapping out the best possible user experiences, A/B testing is your friend. It helps you find out what works and what doesn’t. Be willing to listen to the negatives and change if necessary.

Over to You

Do you have a must-follow rule for UX design? Don’t be shy– share it with us in the comments!