UX design in software applications: What do you need to consider - an interview with our graphic designer
You may have heard of user experience design, or UX design for short. In the digital realm, it plays a crucial role for users and the success of your digital product or presence. In this post, we'd like to take a closer look at UX design and especially find out why it needs to be considered when developing the user interface of your software. That's why we've asked the most important and interesting questions about UX design in software applications to our graphic designer Leonie, who will reveal the most useful information and helpful tips that will help you prototype and ultimately choose the right software. Just stay tuned if you want to learn more now!
Reading time 5 min
- Brief overview: What is UX design?
- And what was the difference between UI and UX design again?
- UX design and software
- An interview with our graphic designer Leonie
- Our conclusion
UX design or user experience design deals with the combination of good functionality, appealing and intuitive design, and reliable usability and accessibility of a digital product. It is used, for example, to make websites as user-friendly as possible. The user experience or the user experience and the feeling it evokes are in the foreground.
Consider them separately from each other. However, there is a crucial difference between the two terms. User interface design, or UI design for short, is about the visual design of an interactive application. The look and feel are relevant to user interface design. UX design focuses on the feeling during use, i.e. the overall user experience. Here, of course, the look, i.e. UI design plays into it, but also many other aspects such as good functionality.
UX design is not only an important part of websites, but also takes place in software applications. How exactly this looks like, what you have to consider and why UX design is so important for software at all, you can find out in the interview with our graphic designer Leonie.
An interview with our graphic designer Leonie
Leonie studied communication design at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Dortmund and specializes in UX & UI design. Privately, her heart beats for interior design and skateboarding. We sat down with Leonie and asked her the most exciting questions about UX design in software applications. Of course, we don't want to withhold Leonie's answers from you!
Software not only has to function flawlessly from a technical point of view, it also has to be a positive experience for the user. Leonie, can you explain a little bit about how UX design is applied in a software?
UX design actually encompasses the entire user experience when interacting with the software application. That's why it's also called UX, or user experience.
On the one hand, this includes the user interface, including the visual design, layout, navigation, interaction elements and information architecture, but also the efficient and effective use of the application. However, aspects such as requirements analysis, user research, prototype development/wireframing, usability testing and continuous improvement of the user experience are also important.
Why is UX design important for software? Do you think a software can still be successful without UX design nowadays?
Without proper UX design, software would be very frustrating for users. They would not like to use the application. This could result in customers bailing out and leaving the application.
However, a sensible UX design helps create a positive user experience. Namely, a good UX design practice takes into account the needs and requirements of the users to enable easy, intuitive and efficient interaction with the software. This increases user satisfaction and retention, improves efficiency and effectiveness when using the software, reduces errors, and ultimately promotes business success through higher user adoption and loyalty. Good UX design can therefore help a product or service to be better aligned with the needs and expectations of users and thus be positioned more successfully in the market. Accordingly, it is essential that UX design is planned for during the development of a software.
Okay, we now know that UX design is indispensable for good software applications. However, you definitely have to consider the respective target groups here as well, don't you? How can the target group be considered in the UX design process? Can you give us a brief insight here as well?
The target audience plays an essential role in UX design. Without an exact target group, graphic designers and designers cannot create a design that is geared towards the target group. To understand user needs and requirements, it is important to know the target audience of the product or service. This can be achieved through audience analysis, which involves collecting and analyzing data such as user demographics, behaviors, goals, motivations, and challenges. A good UX design always considers the target audience and their needs to create a positive user experience. Just imagine asking your grandma to use your latest smartphone to call her grandson. Not so easy at all. That's why "grandparent smartphones" were developed for this use case: Larger keys, short explanations, no frills. - The "grandparents" target group can operate the device more easily and successfully. So, software applications need to have adjustments made to the design for each target group so that they are perfectly tailored for them.
In the field of coding and software development, there are always structures and rules that are used to achieve good and fast results. Is there something like that in the field of UX design as well? If so, what are the rules for a good UX design?
In UX design, there are several rules. Among them are usability, accessibility, effectiveness, efficiency and aesthetics.
Usability is essential for good UX design. The software must be easy to use and allow users to achieve their goals quickly and easily. They should understand the application intuitively and the navigation should be logical and efficient. A clear user interface that is also attractively designed should be integrated.
Accessibility is a must when developing the design. Software applications should be accessible to all users, including people with disabilities (e.g., color blindness).
Effectiveness plays a critical role in ensuring users don't bail before reaching their goal, as well as yours. You need to enable users to complete their tasks effectively. The UX designer must ensure that the application meets the needs of users and provides them with the tools and features they need to complete their tasks. Efficiency plays into this as well. So you need to help users save time and complete their tasks faster. If the application is efficient, users will have to invest as little time as possible to achieve their goals.
Last but not least, aesthetics is also crucial. An aesthetically pleasing design pleases users and gives them a positive feeling. This makes them more likely to use the software again.
You certainly work with some tools on a daily basis as well. Are there design tools for UX design that can also be used when developing software applications?
I find Adobe XD or Figma to be a great help. The applications are similar and each has its followers. Personally, I prefer to use the Adobe XD design tool. It's an application that allows you to design user interfaces for any use, whether it's a website, app, software application, and more. Once the design is created here, you can test it optimally. Likewise, you can also present first drafts to the customer and then forward them directly to the developers for implementation.
After the importance of UX design in software development has been made clear by the last questions, I am interested in the following: How does a software design process usually work for you? Can you give us a little insight here in conclusion?
As a rule, the software design process is always the same. The most important thing for us is always research. We have to get to grips with the topic and the target group more, collect and collate information. In principle, we need to know everything about the users, their needs, their requirements and their expectations. Important tools here include interviews, surveys, observations or other research methods. After that, it's time for planning. Here, the goals of the application are defined. This also includes the time estimate for implementation. This is followed by the concept development. Here we like to work together as a team. With other creative minds it is always easier to understand the problem of the target group and to find good solutions. This includes working out the definition of the information architecture, navigation and interaction possibilities. In this step, we often create initial wireframes and prototypes in Adobe XD to get a better grip on the project. But pen and paper also work well. Now comes the so-called iterative design. Several iterations of the design are carried out. This includes creating UI designs, iterating on user and stakeholder feedback. In the best case, this happens until we and the customer are satisfied.
This is followed by the final implementation of the design. For me, this step also still happens in Adobe XD. Once the design has been implemented, we usually present it to the customer and then do the final programming of the application. Of course, even after the launch, it's important to respond to user feedback and interactions in order to continuously improve the design and better meet the needs of users.
If I'm now further interested in the field of UX design or would like to have another look at a summary of the most important terminology, can you recommend a video?
To get some good basic information, you are always welcome to look at YouTube. An understandable example is the following video:
Thank you Leonie for your time, interesting input and helpful tips!
Through the interview with Leonie you learned that UX design is indispensable for the development of a software. It's important that you listen to your users and involve them in every step. That's why you should take time to conceptualize and create the user experience design and think through this part of the software creation process. As we've heard, audience analysis can be critical to the success of your software. We'd be happy to help you with the UX design of your software. As you can see, Leonie and our team are experts in this field. We can support you from start to finish and offer technical assistance and support even after go-live of your software. Feel free to contact us for a no-obligation conversation and we'll explain our range of services and how we can be at your side, individually tailored to your needs!
We have already asked Leonie the most important questions. She helped us to better understand UX design in combination with software. Now you know how important user experience design really is and that you shouldn't miss out on studying this topic in depth. If you want to know more, the following questions might be a starting point for you to further explore UX design. You might also be unclear about some terms, which we would like to explain briefly now.
A wireframe refers to the structural design of a digital product such as software. Wireframing should answer the questions "what?", "how?" and "where?". So, in the best case, the model of a software contains all information about the presentation of the individual elements. It should also include hints about how to navigate the software.
Balsamiq or Balsamiq Studios is a tool for creating web-based mockups. You can either install it directly on your desktop or use it from the cloud to develop mockups and wireframes. The tool is great especially for beginners as it is quick and easy to use. There are pre-built elements that you can simply drag and drop on your end.
Adobe XD and Figma are both tools that you can use for prototyping and designing. However, they don't work quite the same and each has advantages and disadvantages. We don't want to recommend a particular tool here, but think you should make up your own mind. This is the best way to find out what suits you. Our graphic designer Leonie, for example, simply gets along better with Adobe XD. Here you have reusable elements, but you can also edit them. You can scale objects responsively, have cloud storage capabilities, and can also export all designs easily. If you've worked with other Adobe products before, you'll probably be fine with Adobe XD. Figma also works cloud-based and includes a large library of extensions that can be used for designing. It's perfect for collaborative work in particular. You don't even have to export or import files to share them.
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