UX Design Principles


Customer Focus and UX: Introduction and Project (Online)
Introduction to UX
User Psychology
Introduction to UX

Introduction to UX

This video will introduce you to the key concepts and ideas behind User Experience (UX).  UX can be applied to the products, systems and services provided by your organisation. 

Beyond the functional operation – does it do what it needs to do – UX addresses the emotional response of users. 

  • How do they feel when using a product?
  • Will they use the system again?
  • Would they recommend a service to a friend?

The user’s emotional response to your products, systems and services is the starting point of UX Design.

The Better Horse Argument

Designers, stakeholders may often claim that customers don’t know what they want.  They may even use this famous (paraphrased) quote to back up their argument:

“If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have asked for a faster horse.”

Although there is some dispute that Henry Ford, to whom this quote is attributed to ever actually said it, there is great truth behind it: Ford did indeed build a faster horse.

There is also truth in the idea that customers don’t know what they actually want.

Your job is not to ask what customers want, but to deliver what they need.

The Dancing Bear

A failure in UX design can lead to something called a 'dancing bear product'. This means the idea is great, but the UX design is poor. However, the product is so good users cannot do without it – despite the terrible interaction design. This is a fluke or a happy accident – and is known as a 'dancing bear'.

Naturally, we want our products and services to succeed thanks to great ideas and great design – not despite the poor or inadequate design.

Why User Experience Matters

The user is the make or break for products and processes. The old mantra of enterprise technology ‘build it and they will come’ is challenged by today’s switched-on, tech-savvy users. They are accustomed to and demand experiences that are easy to use, relevant and personalised.

If they don’t get these things from you they will find alternatives. Customers always have other options. However, being “best” is subjective. Think of the mobile phone and the ever ongoing debate between Apple and Android. A user who has a good experience is less likely to look for alternatives.

Users consider a better experience to be superior - even to a more technically adept product (within reason).

The Foundations of User Experience

Good design makes people’s lives better. UX sets out to achieve this. Make it easy – your designs should improve the lives of users in some way. If it’s difficult or awkward, you’re doing it wrong.

Key questions to ask yourself:

  • How does this improve the user’s experience?
  • How does it solve the user’s problems?

Usability is the foundation on which everything is built.


User experience, or UX, can be defined as the emotional response to using a product, system, or service. You can understand UX by asking and answering the following questions. How easy is it to use? Do I have a good impression of the product, system, or service? Will I use this product, system, or service again? Would I recommend it to other people? Is it good value for money? And how do I feel when using the product, system, or service? For instance, maybe there's a face wash you have a great impression of because it doesn't irritate your skin and makes you feel confident, or an online collaboration tool that you've used to work and have recommended to a friend? Perhaps there's a restaurant you can't stop going back to because of their reliable service, delicious food, and great pricing?

The point is every person using a product, system, or service will have fundamentally different user experiences. So, how do we assess UX? UX focuses on increasing how pleasurable, satisfying, and productive it is to use a product or service. 

The top questions to ask yourself when assessing UX will be based on whether you are looking at a product, system, or service. An example of a product is a mobile phone. To assess the UX of a phone you might ask is it easy to hold? How does it feel? Is it a touchscreen? Does it look nice? Does it fit well in your hand or is it too big and awkward? A website or your favourite app is an example of a system. To assess a system's UX you might ask how easy is it to use? Does it look nice? Is it clear? Can you navigate through the user interface intuitively?

Finally, childcare is a great example of a service. To assess the UX of a service ask how good is the service? Does it make my life easier? Would I recommend this service to a family member, friend, or colleague? From all of this it should be clear that UX is completely subjective. People will have different experiences of the same product or service. As the person looking to assess UX, take your time to understand what the user values and make sure that the product, system, or service delivers that consistently. UX matters because consumers and users will actively avoid a product, system, or service if their experience is bad. These days products, systems, or services tend to be in heavy competition with similar offerings, so UX can be the defining factor for a company's success. To wrap this up, UX is a vital tool to improve and support the growth of products, systems, and services, helping companies cater to the specific needs of their consumers and/or users.

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