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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.


Your customers have needs and your product, system, or service should fulfil them. A seamless journey from need to fulfilment is the goal of great UX, but to achieve this you'll need to create a customer journey map. The map should start with a user who has a need, showing every touchpoint they will have with your product, system, or service through to fulfilment. Customer journey maps are a great way to identify potential opportunities you can capitalise on.


Ultimately, the goal of mapping is to form a deeper understanding of your customer's current experience to create insights on how you can best serve them. There are many different versions of customer journey maps. Some may be complex while others could be simple, and regardless of this your customers could either be experiencing a positive or negative journey while trying to resolve their need. It's critical that you understand what their journey looks like if you want to improve that experience. 


So, what are the key elements you should include in a customer journey? First up is persona. Personas are fictional representations of your customers and should represent a wide range of people. Second, the starting point. This is the trigger or event that led this person to have a need or want for a product, system, or service in the first place. Third, the end goal of the customer. Ask yourself what outcome they want or need to achieve.


Finally, the steps reflect the journey your potential customers go through in trying to achieve their end goal. The steps are essentially all the bits in between the starting point and the end goal. Once you have a journey laid out based on these four key elements, you'll have a general picture or a blueprint of your customer's perspective of their experience with your product, system, or service. This map is a powerful tool in the right hands and can help you craft the best possible UX for your customers. 


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