Join Drew Bridewell for an in-depth discussion in this video Pretty doesn't mean functional, part of Practical UX Weekly.
- User experience design is without a doubt becoming more and more important across businesses throughout the world. Companies are discovering the importance of world class design solutions, but that doesn't mean that it's just a pretty experience. User experience designers are taking products to a whole other level. It's also becoming more and more visible that companies who invest in their user experience design quality yield far better results. However, at a time where design teams are getting a seat at the table and given far more business responsibility, it's important to remember that even though it might be pretty, that doesn't mean it's functional.
Without a doubt, it can be both. But in this episode, I'll discuss why it's not all about just being pretty. It's about being fast, functional, and delightful. So if you're ready to cross your Ts and dot your Is, then let's get started. A typical scenario for any designer is to redesign the way something was done in the past. We'll get a set a problems that a current solution is experiencing and we'll notice that the design feels outdated and stale. Having this problem is exhilarating because we get to transform the experience, make it better, and then see our users smile with delight.
However, as a designer, we must think past the pixels on the screen and prioritize the user's task at hand. That's the highest priority. Because if a customer cannot complete the most basic action, then your product is just pretty. A few things to consider about visual design. It gets outdated sooner than later. After you finish the design, you might already be wanting to redesign it. Have you ever spent a few months on a redesign, and it takes another two to five months to get it built, then it turns into a year? Then you're ready to redesign it again.
Adhering to your company's style guides and patterns is done for consistency reasons. However, if it breaks the functional aspect of the product, and isn't best for the user, then evolve it. Visual design is subjective, and there is always going to be a critic. Visual design is an amazing thing. It brings together your story and helps brand your mission. It gives your users a wonderful feeling in their heart when it's executed correctly, and beauty truly does make the world happier.
However, without having the functionality that solves the user's needs, then it is a complete miss on why they came to your product in the first place. Now let's move on to some items to consider about functional design. It can live on for years as long as the culture and behavior doesn't change. It can be more sticky and intuitive. It can save your company money because your members will complete tasks faster. If you do it right upfront, it makes visual design the icing on the cake, literally.
But let's take the icing on the cake metaphor a little further. Visual design is not just making things pretty. It can actually raise the value of your product and experience when it's tightly coupled with functionality that solves a user's need or a problem. It can also help throughout the product in other ways. For example, color has meaning and can be presented to express specific things. Red is for errors and green is for success. Visual design can help with contrast, depth, and readability of your product, which can complement the functional aspects of your experience.
It can also emotionally resonate with the user so they want to engage with the product. So when it comes to redesigning your next feature or product, consider nailing the right functionality for your product first. Then tackle that icing on the cake that everyone is going to want to eat up. Overall, functionality and visual design can coexist. I would never pick one over the other. Just like a cake. You wouldn't present a cake at a birthday party without the icing, unless you just didn't like icing, but who doesn't like icing? If you'd like to continue the conversation or have more questions about design (static)
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Skill Level Intermediate
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