A digital application is just an empty shell if no one is using it. Designing the user experience means designing the interface between the technology and the user and making the technology accessible and valuable.
Why do I need interactive design?
A good user experience allows your customer to interact smoothly with your product or service. User experience is as much about the visual impression as about functionality, but a glossy surface wears off quickly if the interface doesn’t make sense to the user. Purely technical aspects also play a role in the user experience. If a web page loads too slowly, for instance, the user will become restless and leave, no matter how great the page looks when it’s finished loading. To achieve a good user experience, the various aspects must work as a whole. To determine what is needed, we always start from the user’s perspective.
What is interactive design?
Interactive design has to do with finding out who the user is, why they’re using the application, and the background and conditions for achieving the user’s goal. We as creators of the application must find out what to offer the user in the form of text, images, and functions, and how to build the application so that the user interface is crystal clear. We need to understand how the flows work within the application and how to properly guide the user through the available options in any given situation.
Sketches and Prototypes
How do we design a function so that it is easy to understand what it does? The layout should be legible and the information should be clearly distributed. By sketching, we can quickly create a first draft of the basic structure. We then convert the sketches into clickable prototypes that are useful for finding flaws in the design. The prototypes are an important step in creating a robust application and smooth user experience.
When we know who the user is and have formed a hypothesis about how the application should be built, it is time to test it. In the user tests, we set up different scenarios that we want users to experience. We observe what the user does and learn which parts of the design work well and which do not. There are several ways to perform usage tests, and the situation may determine which method is most suitable.
With the help of interviews, surveys, observations, and desk research, we can identify who the intended user is, what their goals are, and what drives them. How can we support them in achieving their goals, and how can we attract them to our product? What is perceived as an obstacle and how can we make the user feel confident about using our application? There are many different methods for mapping users, and what method is chosen will depend on how the material is to be used and what is suitable for a specific user group.
The visual, or graphic, design is ideally carried out when the foundation is set. This is so we know what scenarios we’re designing for. Graphic design includes the application’s colour, shape, typography, animations and so on and is an integral part of interactive design. The graphic design should also be tested and evaluated to ensure that it supports user interaction with the application.