An intro to interaction design that leads to a great user experience (UX)
The idea of design was always in the human minds unknowingly from the time humans evolved and started scribbling on the walls of the first caves known to them. In the early days, the curiosity of reproducing the things that they had seen led to these drawings.
Building a wheel or even a cart or a carriage was possible with the design thinking that an early human had. But, when mankind actually started building really complex structures and machinery, there was a limit to what the brain could imagine. Imagining was never a problem, but to build something, the imagination had to be reproduced in a way that maximized efficiency and that led to the concept of designing.
Designing evolved with human growth and the entire industrial revolution that led to the present-day scalable growth of humanity had a direct dependency on this. Interaction Design and User Experience Design (UX) are the terms that were coined during the recent times after the internet wave. That being said, this has always existed in an unnamed format in the history of every successful product’s existence.
To understand the underlying concept in an easier manner, let’s dive into the story of how a present-day smart car like the Tesla evolved from a pottery wheel or a basic cart in the bronze age. This was a very long process that took thousands of years which got accelerated in the last century. Mesopotamians built the first pottery wheel and over a period of time, when humans interacted with the product they built, they understood that a simple improvement like connecting two wheels together could create a different use case of that product altogether. This small change led to the building of carts which boosted up their transportation potential. Each interaction with this new product brought up new suggestions, additions, and improvements that brought about minuscule changes into the product. Each of these changes made the human life easier or in the present-day terminology, gave the users an amazing experience in the longer run.
In the above example, the whole process took eons to become the product with the best user experience, in the way we know it. During the present day product development, we need the products in the market within the shortest possible time. The planning should be in such a way that the designers should have a clear idea about how the end product should behave when it is finally in the hands of the user. Interaction design is simply the practice of designing a product by involving the user also in the whole process. By doing so, we can ensure the highest user satisfaction and we can say that the end product has the best user experience.
User Experience Design Thinking and Process
The best designs lead to the building of great products and every successful product is the solution to a real-world problem. So it is very crucial for the designer to feel the problem. This will enable a designer to be in the shoes of an actual user. The principles of design thinking are given below:
To have an actual understanding of the problem, a UX designer will have to talk to product managers who have studied and defined the problem or have conversations with potential users which would help them move on to the next step in the process.
Once the problem is identified and understood, the job is to collate all the required information and ask all the valid questions that would help a designer to investigate and rework on the idea and the problem statement. It is always the best to define with the backup of actual data collected rather than based on assumptions
The ideation stage is where a designer and his team starts to come up with the solutions to the problems that they have identified and defined. Brainstorming and discussions will help in improving the idea.
Prototype and Test
The well-formed idea now is required to be translated into a form that can be referred or modified. Initially, this can be done as a scaled down version in a normal pen and paper or a variety of tools can be used.
This is what fine tunes the prototype into an actually usable product. The prototypes can be used to demo the product to multiple customers and get feedback. Based on their suggestions, iterations are made to improve the User Experience.
User experience(UX) design is so vast and a wide variety of tools are available in the market. Always the first option as a tool is pen and paper. You can translate what you have in your mind easily into this. But as the problem statements increase, there is a much higher need to organize and share the data with the teams working on the project, it becomes a necessity to use other tools that would make the life easier for a designer.
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