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Top 5 Rules for inclusive UX Design in 2021

Top 5 Rules for inclusive UX Design in 2021

If you already practice UX Design or are new to the field, let me tell you something significant. You might not realize it, but a company’s success relies heavily on what you do. Websites and products created using UX Design make it easier to build relationships with their users.

In fact, effective User Experience (UX) on a website can lead to higher conversion rates and more traffic. Of course, it also leads to the coveted prize businesses always try to get: customer loyalty. If you have loyal customers, then you have a strong business.

As a UX Designer, you can take satisfaction in knowing what you do matters. You have an impact on how existing and future customers relate to a company. You help to create a real connection with users.

UX Design vs Web Design picture
User Experience Design should focus on creating emotional responses from users.

Next, we will refresh our understanding of UX Design and provide some helpful rules to make you an even stronger designer. And if you’re barely starting in this diverse field, we’ll help you get the best start possible.

A Second Look at UX Design

Firstly, UX helps to improve a product or service and make it functional. Secondly, it will leave the user with a good experience. We can define User Experience Design as the process design teams use to create meaningful experiences for users. This involves the design of the entire process of acquiring and integrating the product. It includes aspects of branding, design, usability, and function.

Here’s a fun fact: the roots of UX go all the way back to the Industrial Revolution. Recognized cases are those of Frederick Winslow Taylor and Henry Ford. You can read an introduction to UX design here.

However, it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that the term User Experience was first used in a job title. Don Norman was an authority on studies related to the field of cognitive experiences and technology products. His position was User Experience Architect in Apple labs. Since then, UX Design has kept expanding into different branches of technology.

Image of Don Norman with design quote.
Don Norman, inventor of the term User Experience.

Rules For Effective UX Design

Before we begin with our list, here’s something important that Don Norman likes to remind us of. As a designer, your focus should be on getting results and not on creating perfect UX design. Above all, it’s necessary to consider what the user or consumer is trying to accomplish.

We invite you to take a look at this video where Don Norman himself gives some sound advice:

The UX legend himself, Don Norman.

Finally, we have arrived at our top rules list. Let’s get started!

1. Involve your users

Clearly, people like to feel heard and connected. When people find a website that they like, it’s partly because they felt an emotional connection. Any time you involve your users in the design process, you naturally create better UX Design.

Without a doubt, it’s important to reach out to users to help improve your design. There are different means you can choose to communicate with them. For example:

Create a Twitter survey, start a Facebook quiz, initiate a survey after purchase, or ask Snapchat users for a snap of what they like/dislike. - Alan Smith, UsabilityGeek

Applying these types of strategies will help get insight into your users and boost your social media presence. We also recommend offering an incentive to your customers to encourage them to give their opinions. Because realistically, not everyone is a fan of taking surveys.

Image showing a survey.
Offer your customers an incentive to give their opinions and advice.

2. Don’t overwhelm users with too much information

Undoubtedly, during the past few years, it has become harder for people to concentrate on anything. There are so many distractions out there! Our brains are constantly bombarded with information from the moment we wake up all the way until bedtime.

A 2015 study conducted by Microsoft found that the average human attention span has declined from 12 seconds to 8 seconds. - Kevin McSpadden, Time

Therefore, we now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. Just let that sink in for a moment...

Image showing how attention span has decreased over the years.
UX Design needs to create meaningful content to grab attention.

Indeed, this means that you, as a designer, are left to deal with this reality. You need to give people the information they need as quickly as possible.

For example, you can simplify interfaces by removing unnecessary content or elements. Take a look at functional minimalism to help you with this task. All information that is presented needs to be relevant and of value to the user.

3. Keep it simple

Obviously, no one likes to feel lost or confused while visiting a site. Having a site that is complicated to navigate will scare users away. People don’t have the time or the patience to deal with a confusing site. Your users shouldn’t need instructions to navigate an app or website.

Additionally, it’s your responsibility as a designer to make things clear and guide users to where they need to go. Overcomplicated language or overwhelming design won’t do you any favors.

Paypal has been in the process of simplifying its website and mobile app experience. Here’s a good example of keeping things simple yet effective:

Example of simple UX Design from Paypal.
Paypal focuses on a clear and simple design for users.

4. Be adaptable and design with intention

While some designers believe that one universal UX process can be applied to all projects, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

On the one hand, it’s possible to define individual steps for each project. However, each project is unique and has its own needs.

UX design process
The UX design process depends on the project.

This means that your UX design needs to be adaptable. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to design. As a designer, you need to adapt your design process to project specifics.

In addition, be intentional with your site’s overall design style. Include attractive and creative elements to make users want to navigate your site.

However, a word of caution. Be intentional with your creativity and design. You want to make your site memorable. Adding too many elements can result in making the site feel confusing and inconsistent.

5. Create usable and accessible UX design

Lastly, it’s important to remember that you’re always designing for a diverse set of users. While some designers like to focus solely on aesthetics and appeal, this should never be the case for a UX designer.

While aesthetics are important, UX design includes functionality and accessibility. If a site or product doesn’t perform its function to a diverse public, then what’s the point? A well-designed product considers users of all abilities. This also includes those that may have impairments.

Diagram showing different aspects of UX
Function over aesthetics is a must in the UX process.

The Appeal of UX Design

Above all, you as a UX designer should enjoy the process and always try new ideas and techniques. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! It’s all part of the experience of becoming a stronger and more effective designer. Remember to consider who you’re designing for and look to each new project as an adventure.

Drawing of a designer.
Have fun discovering new ways of designing!

Let’s talk.

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Laura Amarillas
December 20, 2021
min read

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