There are several ways that you can do a better job of understanding your user’s needs. Understanding what your user really wants starts with research. There are a variety of quick and easy research methods every UX designer can use to understand their users better.
Get users to complete a diary to give you insight in to their world.
Interview users to better understand the problem you are trying to solve. Make sure you are solving a real user problem.
Find the “job” people hire your “product” to do.
Ask for a story about the user’s context.
Have the user create a photographic “Day in the Life” of their work area to understand their environment more.
Learn “trigger” words. Trigger words are simply words used by the user. It might be useful to include some of those trigger words in your product or website. Speak the user’s language.
An affordance is a perceived signal or clue that an object that an object may use to perform a particular action. We applications and sites use affordance to push users to make an action. It is very important to understand the types of affordances a UX designer can use.
Explicit affordance is signaled by language or an object’s physical appearance.
Pattern affordance are design patterns objects like logos, navigation ages, links and the magnifying glass to show search. Users are used to these items being symbolic and expect them to do certain functions.
Have you ever seen a door like this? Have you ever pushed when you should have pulled? Or pulled when you should have pushed? Sure we have all been there. And we all hate that feeling of making a mistake and feeling embarrassed in public.
Keep this type of scenario in mind when you are designing something. Never assume that the user will know what to do with your design or control. And more importantly, NEVER make the user feel stupid.
I attended a talk at BigD (the User experience design conference in Dallas) abut UX Buzzwords. The presentation was by Marti Gold, who is a energetic, snarky and colorful speaker. I love hearing Marti because she keeps it raw and real. She is also a fellow member of Ladies that UX Dallas.
The gist of Marti’s speech was that when UX Designers use a buzzword or phrase, that might have a different meaning and interpretation by the business partner or product owner. In fact, ore often than not, the product owner does have a completely different idea of what your meaning of the buzzword is. The point of her talk was to avoid or stop using these buzzwords all together. So what are the dangerous, confusing UX words?