Before understanding everything that S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. is working on to perfect user experience, it is important to understand what user experience really is. User experience, also called UX for short, is the process that the design teams use to create products that provide a significant and appropriate experiences to the users.
This involves the designing and creation of the entire process of acquiring and integrating the products. This includes aspects of branding, designs, the usability and functions of the application.
User Experience Goes Beyond User Interface
The terms user experience and user interface are very often used interchangeably, however; these are two close but different concepts. The usability of a design along with the user interface are quite important for the development of a software product, however, they are only subsets of user experience. User experience design is an umbrella term that covers an array of concepts and areas. User experience design encompasses the entire procedure of acquiring and integrating a product. This includes various aspects of branding, design, usability and function. User experience is not just a task to be completed, it is a story that starts before the device even reaches the hands of the user.
A product is not like an island. It is not an isolated thing. A software product is much more than that. It is an integrated and cohesive set of experiences. Think of a project in all of its totality; from the initial intentions of creating something, all the way to the final reflections and testing of the product. From the initial usage of the product to services and maintenance. User experience is all about bringing all of these together and make them work seamlessly.
User experience is an overall design and collaboration of the whole journey of the client on the software product. Software products that provide an amazing user experience (e.g. Skype) are thus designed with not only the product’s consumption or use in mind but also the entire procedure of attaining, owning and even troubleshooting it.
Similar to this, user experience designers at S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. don’t only pay attention on creating products that are usable; they pay heed on other aspects of the user experience, such as pleasure, efficiency and fun. Due to this, there is not a single, unanimous definition of a good user experience. Instead, it is a more qualitative concept. A good user experience can be defined as the user experience that meets the needs of a particular user in the specific context of the users making use of the product.
UX Designers consider the Why, What and How of Product Use
S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. has been working on perfecting user experience for quite a while now. Exactly due to this reason the team members of the company are not just working on creating the design and moving on. Instead, the company conducts an initial research into the product use.
The team members at S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. always start by considering the Why, What and How of product use. This simple exercise allows the team members to cover all the major requirements of the user experience design and not skip or miss out on any of the points that should be well covered by the team. The “why” being considered gives an understanding of the motivation of the users for adopting a product in their lives. It gives a clear idea of why the user wants to use the product in the first place, whether they relate to a task they wish to perform with it or to values and views which users associate with the ownership and use of the product. Next comes the “what” of the user experience. The “what” being considered addresses the different things a user can do with a product and its functionalities. This helps to understand and build around what is important in the software application/product. Once it is clear what is required by the client, a more appropriate user design is created which is more in line with what the client wants. Finally, the last of the three is considering the “how” of the product. The “how” relates to the design functionality in an accessible and aesthetically pleasant manner.
At S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd, the user experience design starts with the why as it helps to strengthen the base for everything else, followed by the what and then in the end, finally the how. This sequence is used by the team members to create products that users can form meaningful and worthy experiences with. The people in the company understand that when it comes to software designs, it is integral to ensure that the products “weight” comes from an already existing device and it offers a smooth and seamless experience to the user.
User Experience Design is User-Centered
Anyone at S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. will tell you that user experience design holds in itself the entire user journey. User experience encompasses a multidisciplinary field. People working on the user experience design come from various different backgrounds and hold a variety of degrees, such as visual design, programming, interaction design and even psychology. To design something for a human user also highlights that you have to work with an elevated scope with regards to accommodating multiple clients with different concerns or preferences and accessibility of the application. An example of this would be the size on font. A lot of people have difficulty reading a smaller font while some people simply prefer the font to be large. All of these preferences and limitations have to be considered when creating the design for people.
As a designer working in the user experience field, the tasks of a typical day vary immensely. These often include tasks like user research, designing the wireframes and creating interactive prototypes as well as doing a complete testing of the designs that are made. The tasks that a user experience designer conducts can vary grandly from one organization to another. In S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. the team members complete a range of tasks starting from research all the way to testing. Team of developers in the company always work as the user’s advocate and they always keep the user’s needs in mind. The team centers all the designs and development efforts on the user’s needs which act as the pivot of the entire development process.
S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. encourages the team members working on the user experience to invest some time in researching the user and the demographic that the product is aimed at. This time spent on research is not seen as time wasted by the company. Instead, this is seen as creating a stronger base about the project while allows the user experience designers to get a better grip on what the direction of the project should be and ultimately saves up more time for the company in the long run.
This is one of the main reasons why most of the designers at S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. work in a user centered work process. This helps to continuously channel the best efforts until all the relevant issues and the user’s needs are addressed in a proper manner. You could create the most effective product with the best quality design but if the design does not speak to your user’s and the targeted audience, it all goes to waste. It is no foreign concept for the team members at the company that the design has to always be user centered otherwise it fails to measure up to the standard of the current market.
When it comes to user experience, something that is very integral to the experience is the visual impact that the design is able to create. These designs need to match the style and preferences of the demographic being targeted and they should appeal to the user that the product is aimed at.
When working on a new project, the designers first decide on a color palette that they wish to use in order to create the product. Different colors can have different impact on the user and they can greatly affect the mood of the person interacting with the product. An example of this would be the use of blue color along with neon light effect. This combination creates and gives off a very technical vibe that looks professional and very clean.
Different colors and color combinations can make the person feel differently about the application that they use. It is important to study and keep in mind the color psychology and the impact of different colors on the user. This may seem like a very minor detail however, if done incorrectly, it can completely ruin the outlook of a product. Imagine a children’s app created in black and grey or a product aimed at corporate users that is designed in rainbow colors.
It is essential to decide the colors and the combinations of an application before the design is created so that all the tasks that the designers complete, create a single uniformed product that gels well with the user.
Font & Font Size
User experience is a vast term and many other sub categories are present inside it. One of these categories is the user design and an integral part of designing a product is the write up. There is usually some written text in a product and how something is written can really change how it is perceived.
Imagine a corporate website which uses the font style “Ravie” on their homepage. This font would completely ruin the professional look of the software product and make the website look less formal. These are the things that separate a good product from a great one. The attention to these details is necessary. Making every discussion while keeping in mind who the user of the product will be is exactly what the team of user experience designers are focused at.
It is no easy task to create a worthy user experience now a days. With so much diversity in the likes and dislikes of the users and so many changing fashions, it is not an easy task to create a design that will be liked by the users. This need for creating apps that appease to the user are the reason why S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. created an entire user design wing.
Another important aspect of the written content of the product is the text size. Although most designers pay attention to fonts, many of these designers tend to skip the font sizing. At S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. the team member ensure that no detail is left out or unchecked. It is easy to get confused and think about why is it that the font size is important? After all it seems like such an unimportant detail to someone new in the field or someone who does not understand user experience properly. The font size is quite an important point to consider when creating a product. The readability of the text and the size that is allocated to it, both play an important role in the design of a product.
There are many easy ways to understand this concept. For example, if the text is written in a bold and highlighted size then it usually refers to a heading or something important. Similarly, the body of the text should all be in one uniform size rather than different sizes so that the entire product has a cleaner look. These are very basic things and there are many other more important factors to consider when it comes to font sizing. The team of designer at S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. very meticulously choose the fonts and the sizing for the product to ensure that the final product is up to the standards that the company is renowned for.
This creative wing of the office is centrally working on ensuring that the products being delivered are user centered and enhance the experience of the user when they interact with the product. All the team members working on the user experience of the product are always pushing forward to better understand the users and their requirements.
Visuals of a product are the first thing that a user interacts with in a product and the graphics of the products seem to make a lasting impact. Graphic design is an ever expanding creative discipline that the team members of S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. pay heed to. The user experience designers in the company are not just skilled and versatile on the tools available in the market, these team members are also exceptionally rigorous researchers.
It is the ability of S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd to research and continually invest time in expanding knowledge of graphic design styles, both historical and contemporary, that hold the key to being exceptionally great at the work they provide. There have been many different design styles that have stayed and made their mark however, with changing times it is important to create designs for the modern user.
However, this is not set in stone. The user experience cannot be defined and steady outlines for the work cannot be provided as the user in itself does not remain the same. Sometimes the team members dip into other styles to get creative inspiration for a specific user. The brain storming sessions are focused on what would be the requirement for the client; from the bold geometrical shapes of art deco, asymmetrical layouts of Swiss and international designs, the intense clash of colors seen in psychedelic designs to the use of negative spaces in minimalism. There is not a single design style that goes unconsidered when it comes to making what is best for the client.
User Control & Freedom
If there is one thing that can really ruin a users’ experience on a product, it is an issue with user controls. The product needs to allow a certain amount of freedom to the user while they navigate through the product. This level is not set in stone and it can differ for different categories of software product.
To ensure that the user has a positive experience while using the product, the team at S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. makes sure that the user control work flawlessly and there is no bug in navigating through the product. Once an appealing visual has made a mark on the user, it is necessary that the user controls also live up to the same standard that has been set by looking at the visuals.
The user will create a certain level of expectation after looking at a product that is very beautifully designed to cater to the user demographic in question. To match the expectations of the user, it is important that the software product also works as well as it looks.
There needs to be a certain balance in the visuals and the features of the product. Where the product should be visually appealing for the client, similarly the features need to be user friendly so that the user can have a positive experience while using the product.
Consistency & Flexibility
Ensuring a worthy experience of the user means that the product must be consistent and flexible at the same time. The product being designed must have the consistent visuals throughout the product and at the same time it should offer some flexibility to cater to the personal preferences of a user.
To understand flexibility, think of the night and light mode in an application. It allows users to choose between a darker and a light design for their application. This is a personal preference and it can vary from person to person. These flexibilities in design that certain products offer make it more appealing to the user as they get the option to change the application according to their preference. At the same time it allows the user to feel more connected to the product as they have customized it according to their own requirements.
When a product is being made for a user, it should have consistency in design as well. The user should not see difference in design or the UI of the product on different systems. To understand this, think of an application that is available on both iOS and android. Now if an update is sent on one of these platforms and not on the other one, the application will become different from both android and for iOS users. If a user shifts from android to an iOS system, they will not experience the same application that they had experienced in the android system.
This should never be the case. S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. ensures that all software product for their client has consistency across all the different platforms and that it follows the same, uniform pattern no matter which system the user of the product is utilizing. It is important for the team members to make sure that users have the best possible encounter with the product under question.
Finally, before the user experience team can say that the product is completely user centered, it is ensured that there are no errors in the designs of the product. This is an extensive process that involves the team to check and recheck the work that is provided. Every little detail that is part of the product and everything that the user will interact with goes through 7 rounds of testing done by a team of quality assurance specialists. It does not matter how big or small a detail may be, they are all given equal important at S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd.
The icons are checked to see that they clearly represent what they are for, the buttons are checked to see that they all serve a purpose and the design is checked to ensure that it is in line with the demands of the user demographic being targeted. This extensive testing of the user experience design helps the company to always provide clients with the best possible product and give the company yet another reason to be proud of the standard of work that they produce for their clients.