How to interview a UX designer

UX Design: Comprehensive Guide to Designing Effective User Experiences

The user is the focus of every web project. Websites, marketing campaigns, posts and social content are all designed to provide a user experience which prompts the user to increase the time spent on the website and gear it towards conversion.

In this context, the UX or User Experience Design is a fundamental element in creating websites and digital content, infographics, videos and announcements that are geared towards pleasant and effective use.


What is UX design?

UX design is the discipline that deals with the user's experience in terms of offering pleasant content that is present and can arouse positive emotions. If the user comes first, then must a project by UX Design initially providing answers to the needs of those who surf the Internet, taking care of the graphical aspect, which is characterized by ease of navigation and pleasant procedures and arouses emotions and curiosity in order to stimulate purchase or lead generation activities (such as creating a contact form).


UX design and UI design are not the same

There is sometimes confusion when using the two terms:

  • UI design is in fact a part of UX Design and affects the Creation of interfaces that offer ease of navigation, efficiency in searching for user content and friendliness in the graphics associated with the image that the website owner wants to convey to users.
  • UX design also includes other disciplines, such as digital marketing and some SEO practices, especially the analysis of the most visited content, the user behavior within the website and the websites of competitors in order to create a beautiful website that is easy to explore and that focuses on the needs of the users.


The stages of the UX design process

The UX Designer is not only concerned with the design or redesign of a website: the process includes a preventive phase, the analysis of the behavior and needs of the users who visit the website to be optimized, a development and execution phase and a subsequent moment of the Real-time monitoring and analysis of the results to obtain data useful in the process of continuously optimizing the user experience.

1. The User Research: Highlight the reference audience

Like all user-centric digital activities, UX design requires one Analysis activity, which is often defined as user research and aims to know the target group and to identify their needs and the user intent. It is therefore necessary to conduct analysis and research using online and offline techniques in order to collect valuable data about users. The data is indeed essential in designing a website and its content based on ease of use.

Online promotions can include SEO analyzes of user behavior when navigating the website to be optimized or on websites with similar topics. An effective analysis of the keywords related to the reference sector in order to identify the most competitive and least occupied, the identification of the most visited content and the domains to which it belongs are very useful in order to determine the intent of the user in searching and Define the most relevant answers to the questions asked by the search engines. Usability tests, on the other hand, can reveal errors that should not be repeated when developing the new website.

Among the more traditional research methods that too Conducted offline includes surveys, surveys and the search for reports and documents related to the sector, as well as reliable sources for analyzing the market and the reference audience.

The creation of maps of the Customer journey the user is also very useful. In essence, it is that Create a diagram showing the stages in the process and the touch points through which the user will achieve a goal or make a transformation. By analyzing the timing of the process, it is possible to show the behavior, motivation, difficulties and needs of the user. Identifying the main obstacles in the navigation path enables new funnels to be designed that are more effective and engaging.


The reference audience: the personas

After collecting information about the potential catchment area and about the behavior and needs of the users, it is possible to create a potential audience through the personas, stereotypes of the most common user types, that emerged from the analysis. The personas represent the typical users with their goals, search reasons and possible dissatisfaction with the content.

Depending on the specificity and purpose of the project, the UX designers generate a series of clusters that make it possible to reach as many users as possible. Segmenting the target audience into user classes helps UX designers gain a deep understanding of the target audience and their goals. The analysis and identification of typical users can be carried out together with the marketing managers, who receive valuable information about the goals to be considered in marketing initiatives and campaigns, in the creation of landing pages and commercial offers.

2. The development of the user experience

After the target audience has been identified and analyzed, the next step is to work out the user experience that is to be obtained.

The development phase

Over a phase of Brainstorming sessions - which in some cases can be shared with the client - generate ideas to seize the opportunities and solve the problems that arose in analyzing user research. All suggestions, ideas and suggestions from the design team are collected in complete freedom - even mundane and seemingly unimportant suggestions are collected - to evaluate all possibilities. The ideas are then examined and selected to select those that are considered to be the most effective in relation to the objectives of the project. This is the post-its stage, grouped by topic and placed on the bulletin board to create a visual card to open a discussion on, choosing the ideas that are considered to be most valuable.

Then we create a sitemap, a Map of the websiteCreated on the basis of ideas that emerged in the previous phase to highlight the hierarchy of content and the navigation structure of a website. These maps are often made for mobile apps too and are useful for showing how content is organized, divided into sections and individual pages, and how the user can move from one section to another. Typically, an initial flowchart of the user's conversion path is also created. This is not yet the map of the customer journey, but simply the path outlined by the developers.

The prototype, often designed by hand or with specific tools, is discussed and created with the involvement of the UI designer, who deals with ease of use, ease of navigation and easy findability of the content desired by the user.

The wireframe of the new location, a digital prototype, is created and the mock-up is handed over to the customer. These are usually static images that can be converted into interactive presentations in order to bring the customer closer to the aspects of navigational ability and interaction with the user through very popular programs such as PowerPoint or Keynote even before the lines of code are written.


3. Powerful presentation and tests

Once the customer's approval has been obtained, a web-based, interactive and navigable prototype is created to start the tests and check their functionality and approval.

Usability test

UX is user-centric. It is therefore impossible not to test the prototype of the website, exposing it to real users.

Everything that revolves around digital technology appears to many as a series of cybernetic, non-human techniques and tools. This is not the case: The digitization of content and services needs people because it is geared towards meeting their needs and making people's lives easier. Even a user experience project cannot ignore the usability checks with regard to the target group. How? You can choose a group of users and submit the prototype to them and then interview or create a focus group. Tests can be organized in a pre-equipped room, with PCs equipped with web cameras for eye tracking or eye measurement, which create a map of eye movements which in turn runs on a website. It also collects data about clicks and the time it takes to reach content or generate conversions, as well as errors in the use of the website and the interface. Among the usability tests that can be performed, A / B testing on multiple prototypes is very useful in identifying the most efficient one.

There are many techniques for assessing the success of a UX design project, and it is possible to use a Usability report that is shared with the customer and usually consists of the following components:

  • Information on the tests carried out: What was checked, where, when and by which equipment.
  • methodology: How the survey was conducted, what activities were requested by users, what data was collected, who the participants were and what demographic data they had.
  • Analysis of the results: the presentation of the collected data, consisting of graphics, infographics and any feedback from users.
  • Results and recommendations: a reading of what emerges from the data analysis, with the most valued and negative aspects, combined with a suggestion for problem solving and optimization of the design, the user interface and the eventual call to action.

The report should be understandable and useful to managers, who are likely to read the executive summary, to UI designers who are more focused on detail, and to developers who are interested in operational proposals and implementations.


4. Analysis of the results

After the final product is manufactured and released, it is necessary to monitor the results of the website, review usage data and the composition of users in order to obtain information on how to improve the user experience.

In fact, UX issues can arise that affect the achievement of the goals. It may be difficulties or obstacles presented by users when completing the registration form by the user because it is too complex or invasive in terms of personal data, or in terms of managing the shopping cart and payment methods of an e-commerce company Page.

The analysis can show, for example, that users on an e-commerce website immediately switch from the shopping cart to the search engine within the website to ask for information about the shipping costs. There is probably a lack of information or FAQ in the shopping cart or on the website that quickly provides clear information about shipping costs, delivery times and the ability to return items that have been purchased. The customer will appreciate this type of report, which usually contains tables from the analysis tools, but also notes on critical topics and opportunities for improvement. For The preparation of this document requires that the UX designer has specific skills in data analysis or is supported by SEO professionals who are able to identify and interpret the most interesting data on user behavior and on the UX site.


A study case: HubSpot and the UX

HubSpot is the most famous platform for inbound marketing, the technique that consists of being found by a user looking for a product or service by dragging them to a website, as well as lead generation. The HubSpot homepage is visited by over 4 million users per month and the tool is used by over 48,000 companies in over 100 countries.

The growth of the company and sales has prompted the managers of HubSpot to redesign the website and improve the usability and various functionalities.

Project phases

The top managers at HubSpot selected a project manager, and in addition to the UX designer, a visual designer, a developer and the marketing manager as well as six consultants who dealt with product positioning, copywriting and technical development.


Phase one: Comprehensive research in user research

The HubSpot project started with the analysis of the website data. In fact, large amounts of data were available on various platforms such as HubSpot, Google Analytics and Mixpanel. From the behaviors identified by the SEO analysis, some elements emerged that are common to many users. In particular, many of them were found to:

  • go directly from the home page to the prices without visiting the presentation pages of the product and its benefits.
  • Reach a specific FAQ directly from the home page, indicating that users could not easily find the answer to their question.
  • the search function on the homepage is often used to look for product pages because they obviously have not found the link to the product.

The homepage obviously lacked information that was tailored to the needs of the users, which reduced conversions and caused a lot of distortions on the website.

The analysis was then carried out through heat maps, which show the elements of the page that users click most often, and through scroll maps, which highlight the elements at the bottom of the page that are viewed by users. The analysis was conducted on 25,000 users per page and provided 467,308 unique data for every element of the page. Among the items derived from the research, it was found that only 25 percent of users searched the entire homepage. Sessions with tested users were also recorded to validate subsequent interviews and generate an impressive amount of usability data.

The qualitative research

After collecting the usage data, it was necessary to determine the reasons for the users. It was decided to use interviews with selected groups of users and stakeholders.

Since 10% of the HubSpot homepage traffic was for customers accessing sensitive pages or searching for resources, the User Experience Design team surveyed some of them to validate other data sources, but also to see how the new homepage is displaying dynamic content could deliver certain user goals. There were also interviews with internal executives and with product, marketing, sales and customer service teams.

Finally, elements of the assessment were also found through the sentiment analysis, especially on Twitter, and emails and customer service conversations were analyzed.


Second step: design the user experience

The quantitative and qualitative data from the analysis phase made it possible UX Designer to make incremental changes to the existing homepage and perform various tests that are useful for testing multiple combinations at the same time and getting general data on the website's performance.

The test results helped promote or eliminate certain design elements and provided useful elements that guide the strategic decisions of the entire team in redesigning the new homepage.

Low and high fidelity prototypes

The UX design team then developed lo-fi prototypes to begin the sharing phase with stakeholders and then moved on to the visual design phase. In this case, the low-fidelity prototypes already had a surprising resemblance to the final product, thanks to improvement through feedback and advice from thousands of selected users and experts in the field.

The mochups were then processed by the visual designers while the developers started writing the code in the part related to the interactions. The hi-fi prototypes have improved the visual appearance, with HD images and colors almost definitive.

Compatibility between devices and access was also addressed, as research showed that 16% of HubSpot users access the site through mobile devices and more than 19% of the US population has specific access needs.

Phase three: coding and testing

The next step was to write the code using the company's CMS and make sure the website is compatible with all devices and browsers including Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, Internet Explorer, Yandex, and Opera. The team used the BrowserStack tool to review the website on the various devices and preferred corrections based on the size of the audience using each device.

Phase four: constant testing and interactions

The new version of the website was then launched online and the team began a phase of analyzing the website's navigation data using tools such as Google Analytics and the HubSpot platform, again running tests with heat maps on thousands of users. The current version of the website, dynamically optimized, fully meets the expectations of customers and is carried out entirely according to the principles of Customer First realized.


The best tools for testing a website's UX

UX design requires high technical skills as it involves analysis at all stages of the design process, launching and monitoring the website.

User research is usually carried out using indispensable tools such as Google Analytics and other web analysis tools, which make it possible to check what users are looking for and highlight their customer journey. This tool can be combined with means to conduct interviews and collect feedback, with applications that create heat maps and enable testing with individual users.

In the analysis phase of the User research are they certainly useful:

  • Typeform:The tool makes it easy to create surveys and interview users after you've submitted a prototype website or graphical interface for a few minutes - usually around ten. The tool enables you to work on groups of typical users, the personas, and to collect their comments on usability, content and functionality.
  • Loom:Loom enables usability tests to be carried out by creating a video with the images of the website and the miniature of a commentator, who illustrates the test and asks a group of experts questions about UX and navigation ability and receives qualified feedback. When used to test the quality of the online presence to be submitted in the UX design, the tool enables valuable information to be obtained for the new project.

The Prototyping The first visuals is a fundamental activity for product development. The most commonly used tools are:

  • InVision:The tool allows you to create the interactive prototype of a website without writing code, test the user experience and share the work with the design team of UX design and the client.
  • Crazy Egg:The tool is very useful for testing the most advanced prototypes, creating heat maps and slide maps that help designers improve parts or elements that get fewer clicks, better position graphics and CTA, and see how to lower the ones Parts of websites optimized.

After this Start of the new website, among the tools, the following can be considered to continuously measure the performance of the website and check the UX of the product, which are combined with Google Analytics:

  • Optimizely:A tool with which you can carry out A / B tests and numerous tests for specific user targets, whereby you can even subdivide them according to geographical areas or browsers used. With Optimizely you can test new designs of websites and apps, but also chatbots, SMS and voice assistants.
  • Kissmetrics:Kissmetrics is useful for real-time monitoring of users as they interact with the website. It provides results based on user behavior, useful for programming marketing campaigns and adapted to user behavior.

The books about the user experience

There are many books and guides out there about the user experience. Here is a selection:

  • Internet of humans - Author: Leonardo Agrò - Verlag Tag Books / Egea:The book is written to focus the thought of attention on the user, their needs, and their behavior. The authors believe that digital media can improve people's lives by putting them at the center of the content, products, and services offered on the web. Designing the user experience is a constant challenge that requires a change in mentality that focuses on the customer.
  • The UX Book: Process and Guidelines for Ensuring a Quality User Experience - Authors: Rex Hartson and Pardha Pyla - Verlag MK:The UX Book is written in the form of a guide to UX design. The text suggests guidelines and techniques for designing the user experience. Theory and practice, in a not newer volume, but still in great demand to learn how to improve the usability.


Websites that deal with user experience

The topic of user experience design is very well represented on the web. Websites, portals and blogs allow you to stay up to date with the latest industry news on a daily basis. Examples:

  • UX Booth:UX Booth is one of the leading online usability publications that is highly valued by UX designers. It features articles on user research, visual design, and analytics made available to a social community of over 35,000 people.
  • UX Magazine:It is an online resource that offers articles on all aspects of the user experience. The content is created by qualified professionals who are part of a community. The updates are made daily.


UX design online courses

Discover the innovative UX Design online courses at Talent Garden Innovation School: The comprehensive full-time UX Design Online Bootcampis very hands-on oriented and relies on speakers from the field. For people who work, the more flexible one is availableUX Design Fundamentals Online Course at. In this online course, classes take place in the evening. So nothing stands in the way of your UX design career!


Continue reading?
Find out how to become a UX Designer here.
Or learn the difference between User Experience (UX) and Customer Experience (CX).