Software products were once limited to programmes used by the technically minded to carry out very specific, often work related tasks. Now, they dominate every aspect of our lives; from laptops, to phones, game consoles and tablet devices, even our cars have software these days to enhance the driver’s display and better integrate the necessities of the dashboard with the sleek, high functionality of a system geared towards making the drive more enjoyable. This is all achieved through a process of User experience (UX) design. Beginning at the stage of product conception through to the functionality and actual user interaction, this process also covers product creation,integration, branding, and marketing. UX a simple term that informs each step along the way of software development; to present consumers with a unique and unrivalled interaction experience.
UX guides the entire process of creating products to produce useful, enjoyable and product specific experiences for users.
As with everything in our lives today, as consumers, we have an insatiable appetite for fresh, new and improved design along with continuously upgraded software and improved functionality. Everything from our home appliances to our mobile phones compete to vye for our attention. UX Design plays a role, not only in how we interact with a software product but also how likely we are to purchase and engage with that product at all. With such a fast paced, competitive market, often flooded with similar software solutions for the same problems, UX Design has become the crucial selling point for every business wishing to succeed in this sector.
Staying Consumer Focused
So, if the main goal of UX design is to create an enjoyably smooth experience for users, how is this achieved? By giving people want they want,of course! Noone wants a software ‘solution’ to be more difficult to master then the very real life headache that this product has been produced to alleviate. Good UX designers innately understand this, and aim to improve on their customer satisfaction rates by increasing the functionality, usability and gratification users get from utilizing their product.
Usability and User Interface Design
User Experience Design incorporates a large number of different subdivisions. Two of these subdivisions a that are often confused with being synonymous with UX itself are Usability and User Interface Design. Usability focuses on how to make software more accessible and intuitive to use for consumers, while User Interface Design is about creating that ‘wow’ moment, providing a design to the programming that is visually and functionally satisfying for customers. While both of these subsets are incredibly important for the ultimate overall user experience, it would be wrong to assume they cover everything that must go into UX. In actual fact, UX Design informs every step of product production and is involved in ensuring the software functionality, branding, as well as, marketing are all working together cohesively to create a continuous and enticing user experience that will leave a lasting impression.
Translation of Software Products
Interestingly, the complexities only increase tenfold when taking into consideration the need for translation of software products for use across regions. With competition at an all time high, software developers are employing engineers to facilitate greater functionality and provide users with ever more impressive features. One of the most relied upon features of any software product is the language it uses to communicate with users. All products have their own tone and style in the linguistic features; some more formal and literal while others are opting for friendly, relaxed or even whimsical as the ‘personality’ of their product. This becomes of significant importance when translating the software for new language markets.
Linguists and designers alike must thread the needle, so to speak, achieving effective translations that make sense in each application, while respecting the theme of the original design and treading carefully enough to allow the product to integrate seamlessly across cultural divides. It's no easy feat, but when each vital step of a customer focused UX process is taken with care and attention to detail, only then can we hope to provide users with what they truly want.