A simplistic look at UX or ‘user experience’ design, one thinks of the ‘look and feel’ of a product or dashboard. But this is a misunderstanding of what UX design truly is.
UX design involves the management of all facets to the product not just the visual elements. It is not just a simple arrangement of colours and graphics, but rather how the product will serve its users and the benefits achieved by successfully arranging the various elements found in the prduct.
Some of the methods used to achieve good UX design are:
This may sound like a design cliché but the truth is that it is the first step to de-clutter and organise the information that the user will interact with.
Reducing visual noise will also reduce ‘information fatigue’, this is a phenomenon where the user has to over work their cognitive abilities to interpret a large volume of information (such as big excel tables) and they tire quicker because their short term memory is being over used. We look at the information that the user needs and where possible use graphical elements (Which are much easier to read) and then allow the user to drill down on specific streams of data to find out what’s the story behind that data.
Qlik sense, also uses an associative logic which allows the user to ‘cross drill’ through data, thus making it even easier to see a holistic picture without having to use their short term memory.
Reducing information fatigue allows both a faster interpretation of data as well as longer and more in depth data analysis.
Our brains are geared to figure out patterns and paths, as a UX designer we look at the behaviour of a user and exploit these opportunities to make the experience a simpler procedure. This means keeping a consistent design across the platform, so; new users can understand the product faster and older users can attain a high proficiency at using the product and use it faster and more efficiently.
One simple method is to use charts and graphs where necessary, as the human brain is more efficient at interpreting them than words and numbers. We can see relationships and comparisons faster and thus allow the user to focus on important areas of concern much more quickly. A simple example is:
This issue is more important when the user is dealing with tables of data. UX design resolves this issue by finding out who is seeing the data, and allowing drill down options rather than dumping large volumes of information on the screen.
The real power of good user experience is when the user is driving the data to solve a problem, rather than being limited by a poor experience and following narrow channels of information. Self-service and customisation allows the user to adapt the product to better serve them, and allows innovation. Innovation means that the user can extend their understanding of the data and this means finding new ways to manage and solve issues found within the analysis.