Wealthy & Successful User Experience.
What is User Experience Design and how I understand the processes.
The first thing people usually ask me is; What is User Experience Design (UXD) really or what is it you really do for a living? My simple answer to these questions usually are: “I build a satisfying experience for the user no matter what the product is. I design for the person that will be using the device, system or product, not the stakeholders.”
Even though it’s way more complicated and there is more to it than that.
I will discuss my view and understanding of UXD from the eye of a first-time UX Designer and highlight some of the key methodologies I have learned. I finished my BTech degree in Multimedia Design with my main focus on Interaction design last year (2018) at the University of Johannesburg.
I believe that UXD is the complete effect that users feel as a result of the interaction between the user and a device, a system or a product. UXD forms an integral part of the successful development and design of a product and guides the designer in the direction of design that will be based on the experience of the user. So, a wealthy & successful user experience depends on many factors. For me, a strong research framework or process allows for a great foundation for a wealthy & successful user experience design solution.
There are many different frameworks that UX Designers can use to build a great User Experience. Firstly, Human-centered design, also known as HCD is a term used by many designers, that describes a way of thinking or a process of designing for people. HCD always allows for the human perspective in all design processes. From the beginning to the end. Under the HCD umbrella, we find the idea of Activity Theory. Activity theory is a conceptual framework developed by Aleksei Leontiev to understand the interaction between anything and anyone. The fundamental idea behind the conceptual theory is based on all human activity. Any form of activity that carries purposeful, engaging and transformative interaction between the user and the product, service, device or the world.
UXD & HCD can be seen as a goal orientated or directed interactive process. The figure below represents the hierarchical model, based on activity theory. This model by Victor Kaptelinin represents the action or activity of the user from, self to the world. Motivated by the Why? (Be-goal), What? (Do-goal) & How? (Motor-goal).
Firstly, the why or be goals; This means to be loved, being admired, being appreciated or even the desire of feeling wanted is examples of “be-goals”. The first tier represents the resulting feeling of an action or the motivation of the action taken. For example, making a phone call will not be a meaningful experience, but rather the experiences are gained from the person on the other side of the phone call (be it a good experience or a bad experience). Especially when you require some encouragement or upliftment from the person. — So we as UX Designers will need to ask; Why people do what they do, in their specific scenarios? This first step will help us understand the users’ intent with a product or products. Sometimes you as the UX Designer can accomplish the “be-goals” without building a product, but rather influencing the experience.
The middle section of the model above represents the what or do-goals. A do-goal is the exact action the user will take, like making a call, watching a movie, riding a bike, reading a book or searching the web. The do-goal often can happen outside of a specific piece of technology or through a different kind of technology. For example, the user can make a phone call (do-goal) in many different ways, by using the built-in phone ability of any cellphone, landlines, WhatsApp, Skype, Discord and many more. However, you will need some kind of device no matter what, even a string and an empty can of beans could work. Without any of these technologies, this do-goal can’t exist.
On the lower level of the model, we have the motor-goals(how?) section. This is making the call action when the user wants to make a phone call. However, this requires more detail, actions like, picking up the phone, unlocking it, typing the number or searching for a contact, selecting it and then putting the phone to your ear. These are what I call micro-actions to form a complete action. Without these micro-actions (Motor-goals) a complete and successful experience will be interrupted. The UX designer will take responsibility for managing these experiences, we need to understand all the processes a user can take to perform a task, no matter how small. Keeping in mind that we are designing for different users with different levels of experience. We build a solution to make the process from the be-goal (“making the phone call”) to the motor-goal (micro interactions) possible. In other words, the interactive product embeds do-goals and provides ways to achieve them through interactions (motor-goals).
The UX designer’s role is to understand the different be-goals, even if the do-goals and the motor-goals are still the same. The final design solution could take a completely different route depending on the be-goals (why?). The be-goal could be that the user wants to make a phone call to break up with their partner or the phone call could be to order a pizza, the emotions behind these phone call will be completely different, but the do-goals and the motor-goals will be exactly the same. The UX designer needs to understand the reasons behind the user’s intent to use the product.
When the UX designer understands the intent of the user, the final product will provide a wealthy & successful user experience.