A Beginners Guide to User Experience, UX Design and Product Development — UX 101

UX or user experience. What does it look like from the inside of a company — and what does it look like from a user’s perspective?

UX is the art of making digital products (websites and apps) work seamlessly for the end users. Making things intuitive, easy-to-use, speed up the buyer journey, ensure people complete their buying etc.

It may seem simple from the end users perspective. When things just flow smoothly without anything getting in the way. But it’s not always that easy on the inside — from the designers and developers point of view.

With this guide you get tips on how to get started on the right foot and deliver awesome UX experiences to your users.

 

Work With a UX Company

As a company you can hire experts if you don’t have the necessary expertise. That could be UX, design and product development companies like DesignIt, UXstudio or Nodes.

UX studio

 

Find Inspiration & Designers

Find inspiration and/or designers on Behance and Dribble where the best designers showcase their creative works and portfolios. Discovering designs on these platforms is a great way to find the designer which is the perfect fit for you to work with.

It’s also a great way to figure out which style and look you want for your product. Save all the styles which you think could be awesome. After a day of discovery you can condensate the designs into a clear and actionable direction for your style guide.

Find Designers on Behance

 

Know and Stick To Guidelines

Get familiar with the two dominant guidelines set forward by Apple and Google.

For new-comers to app development it’s worth understanding that a design that works brilliantly on e.g. iPhones may not be possible on Android devices. You cannot be certain that you can create a single design which can be used across both platforms (and on web as well). You’ll notice this if you use the same sets of apps on a daily basis on both iPhone and Android. There are differences.

Material Design by Google

 

Research Competing or Similar Apps

Do your research well upfront. Make a deep dive into all competing products on the market and see what works well, and what doesn’t. Yes, play around with them and understand how they work in-depth. Take notes on what you think works like a charm and what you’d cut out.

Talk to users of competing products and ask them how they feel: Why are they happy using the product, what annoy them, what’s the best part, what are they not using etc.

You can also use apps like Similarweb to see if users are actually engaging with your competitors’ platform. That can give you some interesting insights into where you should start (from a UX and product development perspective).

Similarweb can provide you with interesting and relevant data about your competitors

 

Use readily available icons

Use Google’s library of icons or Apple’s system icons. It’s a great and quick way to get started with no costs when you start putting your UX design together.

Another great resource is Material Design Icons which provides a library with more icons than Google’s own library for material design icons.

Use predefined and readily available icons for your app

 

Platforms for your mockup

There are several great platforms which you can use for putting together and testing your mockup. We’d recommend InVison, NinjaMock or Axure.

It can be a quick way to get the UX design into the hands of potential users and get their feedback on your product. Done right you will be able to iterate fast and getter faster to market with the right solution.

InVision is a great app for prototyping

 

Easy Collaboration

Working together in a multi-disciplinary team (potentially with external designers and developers) can be a challenge. To streamline your collaboration and make your team move faster we recommend SquidHub.

It’s an easy-touse team collaboration platform with access to a team messenger, task manager, file sharing, video calls, calendar and more. Available on web, iPhone and Android and you can get started for free.

SquidHub's all-in-one collaboration platform

QA Testing

UX can look remarkably good in the beginning. But going from design to actual product (when your developers first get started) can dramatically impact your vision for an app with a beautiful design and smooth UX.

You of course have the major things like login, signup, primary flow in the app etc. that just need to work smoothly. Quality testing is what you need for this. This article from Hackernoon is a great way to get started with quality testing your app:

The Definitive 227 Item Quality Assurance Checklist to Test Before Launching New Software

QA Testing

 

Summary and a Few Additional Notes

  1. Always start research and UX. Be thorough. Doing a great job in this phase will save you from headaches and hours of rework for your developers in later stages.
  2. Then add UI. It can be rather difficult for most people to understand and comprehend an app (and judge the value) without seeing the real UI/interface and just raw wireframes.
  3. Test the UX and UI. Find your ideal customer, put the app in their hands and ask for honest feedback. Then iterate.
  4. Finally, when UX and UI is done you can start development.

Remember, terminology is also part of UX. So is sounds. The right animation. The right color. The right font. Icons that makes immediate sense. Flows that makes sense and guides your user. That things are properly aligned.

 

“UX is when everything comes together in just the right way”.

 

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