“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” – Steve Jobs
To begin with, there is no specific definition when it comes to describing UX design. Oxford Journals of Interacting With Computers illustrated the idea of user experience (UX) design as a way “to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty through the utility, ease of use, and pleasure provided in the interaction with a product.”
When talking about UX design, it is associated heavily with the creative and analytical process of determining what a website, device or piece of software is going to be and how such instruments interact with users in general. With this, we take great interest in understanding the UX UI design development in the APAC region by asking Malaysia designers about their thoughts on the subject.
How to Build a Winning UX/UI Product
Brian Solis suggested that, “User experience is a priority that should, in some way, find a home within the design of any new-media strategy.” Given the dynamics of startups’ digital marketing nowadays, UX design is an art and science altogether, and often ignored in the development of new-media channels where customers are given the liberty to control their own needs and desire. He added that “if an app looks unappealing it will most likely be easily removed from the device, and if a brand page on a social or mobile network have no values, users can opt to unlike, unfollow or unsubscribe.” So what makes a great product, great then? We asked some experienced designers in Malaysia to get their insight on how to build a winning UX/UI product.
Wawan Zahari, Design Lead at REVAsia (fka SAYS) stresses that UX/UI design should always focus on functionality over beauty and believes in a less complicated design that end users can relate with. Atlassian’s designer Zaki Salleh on the other hand explained that he constantly seeks for customers’ feedback in understanding their company’s needs and direction in determining the type of features they need to build.
Teamwork is the Key
Of course building an exceptional practical product takes a team effort thus Zaki stressed on the importance of teamwork. “Our product manager plays an important role in keeping the team informed about the market conditions and the users’ needs while working closely with both designers and developers to identify key problems that brings real value to users.” Wawan, on the same page as Zaki, also highlighted the importance of team effort in problem solving.
When asked how startups can receive a steady traction in ensuring engagement between customers and products, Zaki explained that his team always tries their very best to leverage on existing users and communities by developing an ecosystem that serves customers better than their competitors. On a side note, Wawan with a 6 years of being a web designer/frontend engineer, highlighted the importance of A/B testing during the product development stage that should always include experimentation of the product on a small group of users and their behaviour to determine which method works effectively.
The Importance of UX Market-Driven Strategy
Since a decade ago, the World has seen the huge success of Twitter’s ‘pull-to-refresh’ and Apple’s ‘pinch-to-zoom’ design that took the world by storm and subsequently set the benchmark for most mobile apps today. From his 4 years experience as a UX designer, Zaki believes that design trends are very much user and market-driven, where the success of a product depends on the amount of reach it gets. Like the examples mentioned, “a designer can design a pattern with a low learning curve such as these, but it’s ultimately up to the product to increase its reach to push the pattern into a new trend” while Wawan believes that startups should always build a product that can help solve a problem.
To conclude, no matter what kind of products your team is building it is always good to be reminded that UX/UI design is key to direct traffic and business to your product. It is an important feature that enables users to navigate your application or, website and understand its system and your products so neglecting it can result in a sloppy site that fails to develop an interaction-rich experience and drive users back to your brand.