System Concepts A-Z of UX (part 1)

User Experience & Usability

The A to Z of UX

Letter AA is for accessibility. What is UX if it is not inclusive? Including disabled people in your research and considering different users’ needs in your designs is ethically, legally and financially the way forward. Here are a few case studies of some of our accessibility work.

Letter BB is for Benchmarking. Benchmarking is a useful tool if you are looking to understand the impact of UX design changes or if you want to compare your product with your competitors. We have developed our own UX assessment tool over the years using heuristics (see below), best practice and accessibility guidance (WCAG 2.1) which provides our clients with key metrics and an idea of where to focus their efforts. Benchmarking your accessibility is also important. Running an accessibility audit on your current website and then again following design updates and changes will establish the impact of those changes on your users with accessibility requirements.

Letter CC is for Context. Remember that your product or service is being used out there in the wild. It’s messy, noisy, busy and filled with distractions and other products and services that are being interacted with at the same time as yours. Get out there and see your product in its natural habitat just like we did when we visited restaurants to see how Just Eat’s tablet was being used to process orders.

Letter DD is for Design Thinking. Essentially this is the practice of human centred design and legend has it that IDEO coined the term. Design Thinking is a way of problem-solving that prioritises user needs, whilst encouraging creativity and collaboration within a multi-disciplinary team. See our series on Design Thinking for an in-depth look at each stage.

Letter EE is for Efficiency and Effectiveness. The ISO 9241-11 Standard on usability (which our Founder, Tom Stewart, was instrumental in developing) describes usability as “The extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals, with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use.”

Letter FF is for Feedback. Feedback loops are a part of life – our body’s temperature is on a permanent feedback loop for example. In the context of UX, feedback could refer to the importance of ensuring a user knows that they have actioned something (i.e. that the system provides them with feedback) or it could refer to your design process. It is important to regularly gather feedback on your designs as you develop a product or service. There are ways to incorporate quick feedback loops into your process including running regular Rapid User Testing sessions or using the RITE methodology as described in our Design Thinking article focussed on prototyping.

Letter GG is for Goals. More often than not we need to know what a user wants to get out of their interaction with a product or service before we can start to improve their journey to get there. When we consider user goals we need to think of them within their messy wider world rather than within the confines of a product. Including these rich user goals within personas can bring these goals to life and ensure users are kept at the centre of the design process, just as Les Mills did when they asked us to support their own goal in better understanding their customers (club partners) and their end users (club members).

Letter HH is for Heuristics or ‘rules of thumb’. The only two words that complete this picture are Jakob Nielsen. He described 10 usability heuristics which are just as relevant now as they were 27 years ago when he first wrote about them (which is a huge feat when you think about the change and progress with technology in that time period). You can read about the 10 principles here.

Letter II is for Ideation. One of our favourite ‘next steps’ following a user research project is the Ideation process. Taking insights that emerged from the research and turning them into ideas or concepts. We often borrow techniques from Google Venture’s design sprint methodology  and rebuild them into a tailored workshop for our client. A case study from one of our design sprint projects can be found on our website.

Thanks for reading the first instalment of our UX alphabet, from A to I. Join us again soon for the next instalment!

Speech bubbleIf you have any user research requirements, our experienced team can help, just get in touch

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