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Why UX Design Principles Are So Tricky

When building software the first thing we have to think about is the user experience.

Feature-rich software has failed against user-optimized experiences time and time again. You only have to think of Apple's iPod to realize the truth of this statement. Microsoft Zune was, by all measures a better device, with better software, and more functionality. But at the end of the day, users are looking for software products that are easy to understand, easy to learn, and simple to navigate.

User experience was not always considered a major component of software design. The functionality and the main utilities of a software product were often given more precedence Span UI and UX design. Now company is like apple have made a user first approach much more popular. Instead of building a software product with a certain functionality then going back once the product is finished and asking users how to optimize experience, software is made with the experience in mind before even mocking up a prototype.

The principles of UX design are simple to understand. A great user experience means that a software product is usable, functional, accessible, and pleasurable to use. Upon hearing these principles, you may think that imbuing your software product with functionality, usability, accessibility is a simple task. While the principles themselves may seem like intuitive, it's incredibly difficult to integrate all of them into your software product. That’s because stylish design trends can be in conflict with UX design principles, and it can be tricky to balance these trends with the basic tenets of UX design.

Another factor that complicates the matter is the fact that how we interact with technology, our perception of what is easy-to-use and how to best implement this ease-of-use is a moving target. New technologies are constantly evolving, changing, and shaping our expectations of software applications. For example, advancements in artificial intelligence, advancements in personal AI assistants specifically, have created a whole new subsection of user experience called VUI, or voice user interface.

UX and user interface where at one time, virtually synonymous. UX now encompasses the user journey, the ineffable qualities of software applications, the underlying feeling of the software product that goes much further than the visual design, the GUI, or the VUI. Just like the brand of Coca-Cola is much more than just a recipe, so is the UX of every software application. The UX is the brand, the identity, and the underlying interactivity of the software product. This means that UX is entangled with every facet of an app, meaning the principles of usability, accessibility, and functionality must be present in every layer, every facet, every piece of the user experience.

UX is ultimately about what is elicited from the user. The attitudes, the moods, the personal experiences that arise from using your software application are all part of the user experience. We use the core principles of UX design to arrive at a pleasurable, enriching experience for the people using your application. We make the app intuitive by making usefulness more important than stylishness, intuitiveness over inventiveness, and so on and so forth. The thousands of decisions you make about when to prioritize what, what designs to employ where, and what language to use and why, comprises the entire UX design process. An involved, intricate, and delicate process that requires immense care, dedication, and revision.

User Experience, as stated earlier, is a moving target. There’s no benchmark for perfect usability, accessibility, and functionality. There is no objective measure of happiness, satisfaction, or contentedness with a product. We only have estimations, and the data we collect about consumers is just that data -- there is no meaning without context, no context without experimentation, and no experimentation without innovation. This means that the basic UX design principles require more than simply memorization and implementation. Mastering UX design principles requires constant study, attentiveness to your audience, and unrelenting innovation. So while the design principles themselves are intuitive, reaching them is anything but.

About the Author: Ellie Martin is co-founder of Startup Change group. Her works have been featured on Yahoo! , Wisebread, AOL, among others. She currently splits her time between her home office in New York and Israel. You may connect with her on Twitter.
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