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About UX/UI Design Vol.4

In previous posts, I’ve touched on the idea that “UX ≠ Usability” and “the crucial role of UX designers in preparing project briefings”, today, I’m excited to dive deeper and share which types of projects truly shine under the influence of UX design.

UX design, with its academic roots and methodical approach, is versatile enough to enhance any project. Yet, some projects stand out as particularly suited to reap the benefits of a robust UX design. I’ve curated a list of these project types to help you understand where UX design can make the most significant impact, ensuring that your initiatives not only meet but exceed expectations.

The concept of UX design originates from analyzing the interactions between products, services, and their users. This begs the question: Which products and services can most effectively leverage this concept? This blog post aims to explore the types of offerings that benefit most from a thoughtful application of UX design principles, enhancing the overall user experience.

The Projects That Create Social Impact

Social impact is defined as the “social and environmental changes and effects that occur as a result of a business or activity, encompassing both immediate and long-term transformations.” This dynamic interplay often parallels innovation but with a twist: social impact can spring from the clever integration of existing technologies, not just from groundbreaking new inventions.

Take, for example, transformative projects like systems that ensure safe drinking water in developing countries, medical devices that tackle hard-to-treat diseases, or educational apps that enhance cognitive functions. Each of these initiatives demonstrates how thoughtful applications of existing technologies can drive profound changes.

One such project that I had the privilege of contributing to is bloo vision, a vision training device designed to improve amblyopia in children. This endeavor is a prime example of how UX design can spearhead potential social impacts.

Creating such impactful outcomes requires rigorous research and robust design efforts, with user research being especially critical. Engaging in UX design not only streamlines this research process but also highlights various unseen challenges and opportunities. By bringing these insights to light and visualizing the outcomes, we can more effectively communicate the tangible social and environmental benefits, paving the way for substantial social impact. This approach not only enhances the project’s visibility but also underscores its significance in driving societal change.

ChatGPT has revolutionized the landscape with its profound social impact, reshaping the way we approach research and production. This groundbreaking service has transformed traditional methodologies, introducing a new era of efficiency and innovation in how we gather information and generate content.

The Projects That Make Things Convenient

Among the seven foundational elements of UX, “Useful” and “Valuable” stand out, representing the essence of convenience. However, it’s crucial to distinguish between providing utility and over-engineering for convenience. Excessive convenience can lead to complexity, making products harder to use. A classic example is a TV remote control cluttered with unnecessary buttons or the overwhelming number of electronic payment options in Japan.

Yet, the desire for convenience, no matter how small, holds immense value for those who seek it. Consider Emirates Airlines, which employs facial recognition technology to streamline boarding processes. While travelers still need their passports, the convenience of not having to present them at every checkpoint significantly enhances the travel experience. This feature might not have stemmed from extensive UX design concerning passport use, but UX principles are undoubtedly critical from check-in to boarding to optimize facial recognition technology.

Similar innovations are evident in other services, such as courier cash-on-delivery options and Amazon’s return system, all designed to simplify user interactions. These examples underscore how practicing UX design is not just about adding features; it’s about crafting experiences that transform routine convenience into extraordinary user value.

person holding iphone 6 inside car

The arrival of Uber has revolutionized transportation, making it vastly more convenient and accessible.

The Projects That Bring Empathy

In the business world, gaining empathy is often touted but achieving it can be challenging, particularly when transforming empathy into tangible business outcomes. This difficulty arises because what may seem obvious to one person might not be as clear to another, influenced by individual perceptions and life experiences. For instance, people from similar backgrounds tend to empathize more easily due to shared environments and experiences, whereas those from different backgrounds may struggle due to diverse perspectives, a phenomenon often highlighted by generational gaps.

This lack of empathy can stymie initiatives such as car sharing in Japan or the adoption of digital technologies, where cultural norms heavily favor consensus. In such environments, a project cannot advance without collective empathy, which often leaves many innovative ideas unrealized.

However, UX design emerges as a powerful tool in bridging these gaps. While it might seem unconventional, employing UX design to foster empathy among stakeholders—not just customers—during a project’s lifecycle is vital. This approach is essential, regardless of whether the stakeholders are team members or external partners. If your team does not feel empathetic towards the project, neither will your customers.

At its heart, UX design is rooted in design thinking, which starts with empathy. Thus, practicing UX design is fundamentally about building empathy, not only with users but also among colleagues, superiors, and investors. This broad application of UX design can transform how teams and stakeholders connect with a project, paving the way for more aligned, effective, and successful outcomes.

Get a Free UX Consultation!

No matter the scope of your project, it’s advisable to consult a UX design expert early in the process. While not every situation may require a UX designer—sometimes a UI designer or even your existing team resources can suffice— recognizing this early can save on unnecessary expenditures. Engaging the right expertise from the start ensures that your project is not only cost-effective but also aligned with the best practices in user experience design.

Call Now

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At Genki Brothers, we have initiated the startup “Connect” with the aim of exploring the integration of UX/UI design within business contexts.

For those interested in creating innovative and unprecedented experiences in your business endeavors, we encourage you to read our book. Please complete the submission form provided below. Upon receipt of your email, an automatic reply containing the download link for the book will be sent to you.

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    About UX/UI Design Vol.3

    In my previous article, I explored the UX design approach and emphasized the importance of redefining the briefing by a UX designer. However, in practical business scenarios, it’s not always feasible to involve a UX designer from the outset of a project due to budget constraints and resource limitations. Often, project ideas are sparked by internal discussions within a company, interactions with customers, or everyday observations, and typically, a UX designer is not present during these initial stages.

    In this post, I will discuss strategies for initiating a project even when a UX designer is not available. These guidelines will help ensure that your project remains user-focused and adheres to UX principles, setting a strong foundation for when a UX professional can later be brought on board.

    sticky notes on paper document beside pens and box

    Before diving into UX design, various preparatory steps must be taken, many of which do not require the immediate involvement of a UX designer. This groundwork is crucial to ensure that the project is well-aligned with user-centered design principles from the outset, setting the stage for more specialized contributions as the project progresses.

    Consider Your Branding First

    When embarking on UX design, it’s crucial to consider the relationship with your brand. A significant disparity between the perception of your business and the user experience provided by your products or services can lead to branding failures and difficulty engaging users.

    Take Airbnb as an example. They revolutionized the travel experience, but imagine if their homepage had retained a corporate, austere appearance? Prior to their 2014 rebranding, Airbnb’s homepage resembled a typical travel booking site with a very different logo. However, post-rebrand, they launched a new offering called “Experience,” successfully transmitting entirely new value through various events.

    Apple serves as another clear illustration. If Apple’s brand image resembled that of Microsoft or Google, how would their products differ? Would we have the iPhone as we know it today? These examples underscore that the brand’s essence is integral to the practice of UX design.

    For emerging companies looking to implement UX design, developing the brand concurrently is essential. Conversely, for established companies, it is vital to consider the existing brand and how the products and services are positioned before examining how UX can enhance this relationship. This strategic alignment ensures that UX design not only complements but also amplifies the brand’s core values and market presence.

    Before its brand renewal, Airbnb had not significantly incorporated the concept of UX into its strategy

    Navigating UX Design: The Impact of Brand Guidelines

    The existence of brand guidelines can significantly influence how a UX design project progresses. Brand guidelines define the branding elements clearly, and their presence (or absence) often marks a pivotal point in the development of a UX project.

    While I won’t delve into the specifics of brand guidelines here, it is crucial to highlight three essential elements in UX design practice: brand value, brand mission, and mood board (which encapsulates the brand’s worldview). These components are foundational in ensuring that the brand’s essence is effectively communicated through UX design.

    Consider the example of IKEA, a brand that embodies eight key values, including cost-consciousness. Imagine if IKEA were to disregard this value and instead sell high-cost furniture with exceptional UX. Such a move would likely misalign with the brand’s established values and could confuse or alienate customers. The relationship between a brand and the value and image it conveys to consumers through its products and services is deeply intertwined. Ignoring the intrinsic link between brand concepts and product/services not only jeopardizes sustainable business operations but also undermines the effectiveness of UX design.

    When brand guidelines are in place, the first step in a UX design project should be to ensure that the brand values are reflected in all activities and products, followed by the creation of a UX design brief that aligns with these values. If no brand guidelines exist, the UX design process becomes an opportunity to define and clarify the value that the product or service provides, shaping the brand’s identity in a way that supports business objectives.

    How did an energy drink company transform into a global powerhouse with such a diverse UX presence? And why haven’t other companies achieved the same level of success? The answer seems clear.

    The Role of Management in Branding and UX Design

    There’s a common misconception that branding is a practice reserved for large, consumer-facing companies like apparel and sports brands such as Gucci and Nike, or automotive and airline giants such as Toyota and JAL. However, this notion is fundamentally flawed.

    Branding is crucial regardless of a company’s size or whether it operates in a B2B or B2C sector. Every business needs to have a clear strategy about how to communicate its value to others and what exactly should be conveyed. This consideration is critical when developing elements such as company logos or presentation materials, where the focus is on how these representations will be perceived.

    Unfortunately, many small and B2B companies, often constrained by budget limitations, neglect branding. This oversight can lead to significant challenges when these companies undertake UX design projects, frequently resulting in failure. I have witnessed many such cases firsthand.

    So, how can these failures be avoided? Success largely depends on the extent to which management understands the importance of branding in product and service development.

    Branding and UX design don’t necessarily require a large budget to be effective. What’s crucial is for management to acknowledge the comprehensive planning needed in a UX design project. Recognizing this, they must then strategically outline how to implement these initiatives, ensuring that branding and UX principles align seamlessly with business objectives. This approach not only enhances the project’s chance of success but also solidifies the company’s market position through coherent and impactful user experiences.

    Get a Free UX Consultation!

    No matter the scope of your project, it’s advisable to consult a UX design expert early in the process. While not every situation may require a UX designer—sometimes a UI designer or even your existing team resources can suffice— recognizing this early can save on unnecessary expenditures. Engaging the right expertise from the start ensures that your project is not only cost-effective but also aligned with the best practices in user experience design.

    Call Now

    Free Download

    At Genki Brothers, we have initiated the startup “Connect” with the aim of exploring the integration of UX/UI design within business contexts.

    For those interested in creating innovative and unprecedented experiences in your business endeavors, we encourage you to read our book. Please complete the submission form provided below. Upon receipt of your email, an automatic reply containing the download link for the book will be sent to you.

      Your Email*


      *This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


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      About UX/UI Design Vol.2

      I have participated in numerous UX design projects, each focusing primarily on enhancing usability. Interestingly, many of these projects, while labeled as UX design, predominantly involved solutions that fell within the realm of UI design practices. This observation raises a crucial question: are these projects truly embracing UX design?

      Previously, I wrote the definition and implications of UX design. Now, let’s delve deeper into the UX design approach. This section aims to provide a more detailed exploration of how UX design methodologies are applied in practice and why there’s often a discrepancy between the intended UX design and the resultant focus on UI elements.

       

      Project Type

      In the realm of UX design, projects typically fall into one of two main categories:

      1. Launching a new product or service from the ground up.
      2. Making modifications or updates to existing products or services that are either already on the market or still in development.

      For the first scenario, employing UX design is inherently valuable as it involves defining the concept from scratch, allowing for a comprehensive and foundational design approach. This setting provides a unique opportunity to embed UX principles deeply into the product or service from the very beginning.

      In the second scenario, the focus often shifts towards enhancing specific aspects such as usability. For instance, you might encounter objectives like “improving mobile search from a UX perspective” or “increasing user engagement with underutilized features.” These are common challenges where UX design is frequently applied to devise effective solutions.

      Many designers have likely engaged in UX projects aiming to address such specific issues, leveraging UX strategies to optimize usability

      Many of you have likely considered enhancing the usability of your mobile app through UX design.

      What You Need to Do at first

      When a UX design project kicks off within your organization, the initial steps should involve:

      1. Securing Expert Resources:
        • Experts are crucial, extending beyond UX designers to include professionals deeply knowledgeable about the product or service your business offers, as well as business owners themselves. For example, in the cosmetics industry, this could involve product development specialists such as chemists and top management; in automotive sectors, designers, engineers, and possibly supply chain personnel play a critical role. These individuals are indispensable for their expert insights.
      2. Reconfirming and Redefining the Brief:
        • It’s crucial to gather all experts to reconfirm and redefine the project brief. Whether launching a new venture or revamping an existing product or service, the first order of business must be to ensure that everyone involved clearly understands the project’s goals and the targeted user experience. This clarity is essential. Without it, team members may pursue divergent objectives, leading to fragmented and ineffective outcomes.

      Starting a project on the right foot involves aligning all team members under a unified vision for the user experience, ensuring that every step taken is a stride toward shared goals.

      UX design is fundamentally academic, requiring deep expertise and collaborative discussion among specialists familiar with the product or service at hand. Without the involvement of these experts to deliberate and contribute their knowledge, achieving a highly effective UX design is unlikely.

      The Importance of Redefining Briefings in UX Design

      In many UX projects, the focus tends to be narrowly cast on the functionality and user impressions of apps—whether it’s an app designed to streamline your hectic schedule or a mobile-friendly platform for purchasing concert tickets. Often, briefings are confined to these specific utilities, leading primarily to discussions centered around enhancing usability.

      To transcend mere usability and practice effective UX design, it’s crucial that the briefing process itself be led by expert UX designers. These professionals should first identify and articulate the core business challenges, then revisit and redefine the briefings from a UX perspective.

      Take, for instance, an app intended to help manage a busy schedule. From a UX design standpoint, the goal shouldn’t just be about making the schedule easy to view in a Gantt chart format or simplifying notification settings. Instead, the discussion should pivot towards transforming how schedules are managed altogether.

      Similarly, for a mobile-friendly app that facilitates concert ticket purchases, the primary aim of enabling mobile purchases might be to enhance user convenience. However, if convenience is a core value, the approach should not be restricted to mobile transactions. Expanding the availability of purchasing channels to include options like station kiosks or post offices could further enhance accessibility. In Japan, for example, the ability to purchase various tickets at convenience stores exemplifies this broader approach.

      By redefining briefings with a holistic UX perspective, we can ensure that design efforts align more closely with strategic business objectives and deliver truly transformative user experiences.

      white and black motorcycle with black background

      The execution of UX design is heavily influenced by the specifics outlined in the project briefing. For instance, the design of a motorcycle can vary significantly based on the type of experience intended for the rider. This underscores the importance of a well-crafted briefing that clearly articulates the desired user experience, setting the stage for the design process to align precisely with these objectives.

      Designing user experience is akin to sculpting invisible phenomena. It involves clarifying the abstract concepts and visual images that shape user interactions. More than just articulating value, it’s crucial to examine the outcomes: the new benefits and values users gain from a product or service, and how their usage behaviors evolve as a result.

      In contrast, UI design deals with elements that are visually tangible, such as the interfaces of mobile apps or the buttons on a TV remote control. While it’s straightforward to assess the aesthetics and functionality of these elements, understanding how they enhance or detract from the overall user experience is a far more complex challenge.

      Get a Free UX Consultation!

      No matter the scope of your project, it’s advisable to consult a UX design expert early in the process. While not every situation may require a UX designer—sometimes a UI designer or even your existing team resources can suffice— recognizing this early can save on unnecessary expenditures. Engaging the right expertise from the start ensures that your project is not only cost-effective but also aligned with the best practices in user experience design.

      Call Now

      Free Download

      At Genki Brothers, we have initiated the startup “Connect” with the aim of exploring the integration of UX/UI design within business contexts.

      For those interested in creating innovative and unprecedented experiences in your business endeavors, we encourage you to read our book. Please complete the submission form provided below. Upon receipt of your email, an automatic reply containing the download link for the book will be sent to you.

        Your Email*


        *This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


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        About UX/UI Design Vol.1

        UX ≠ Usability

        In recent years, the concepts of User Experience (UX) and UX Design have gained widespread attention globally across various countries and media platforms. Despite this prominence, a significant gap in understanding and accurate representation persists among media outlets, writers, and recruiters. This gap can be attributed to the rapid proliferation of software services, such as Software as a Service (SaaS) models, and the dynamics of recruitment processes.

        Regrettably, the term “UX (User Experience)” has often been utilized more as a means to an end rather than being fully understood, which has led to putting the cart before the horse.

         

        1. Origins of the Term “User Experience”

        The term “User Experience” combines “User” and “Experience” into a single phrase, but the origin of this term is not widely known. In my professional interactions with numerous UX and UI designers globally, I have observed that many are unaware of the term’s origins. This lack of awareness is also prevalent among recruiters specializing in human resources. Nevertheless, professionals in fields reliant on tangible outputs, such as computer science and product design, often recognize that the term UX originated within their disciplines. The media presents mixed views, but it is noted that Bill Buxton significantly contributed to the usage of the term UX.

        The media presents diverse perspectives regarding the origin of the term “UX,” but it is widely believed that Bill Buxton was instrumental in popularizing its usage.

        However, it is Don Norman who is primarily credited with popularizing the term among the general populace. Regrettably, many professionals who identify as UX or UI designers remain unaware of these pioneering figures, an oversight comparable to driving without understanding the colors of traffic lights.

         

        2. Rise of Software Products and Services

        As evidenced by Bill Buxton’s contributions, the term UX originally emerged from the Science & Technology sector. Traditionally, the usage of UX was confined to specific industries and not as prevalent as today, with software platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. However, the advent of the Internet and the widespread adoption of smartphones, particularly following the introduction of the iPhone, have catalyzed a surge in software-only products and services. This trend is further amplified by the startup ecosystem. Presently, the term UX is increasingly applied to intangible products, and as daily web interactions become commonplace, there is a growing focus on software-oriented UX considerations.
        Through my professional experiences, I contend that UX design can effectively address various usability challenges associated with software experiences. For example, enhancing the efficiency of online checkout processes or improving the readability of websites can be achieved through adept UI design. These enhancements are crucial for optimizing user interactions and overall satisfaction.

        This formal exploration highlights the critical need for a deeper understanding of UX and its foundational influences, underscoring the importance of education and awareness in the field.

        The introduction of Dash Buttons by Amazon has significantly revolutionized the shopping experience.

        From a User Experience (UX) perspective, designing for shopping requires strategic modifications to the shopping process itself to facilitate rapid progression to checkout, as demonstrated in the video example. This approach emphasizes the need for a user-centric design that prioritizes ease and efficiency in consumer transactions.

        Instagram serves as a quintessential example of how a camera application can redefine both the experience (UX) and the conceptualization of photography through software. This transformation has significantly altered the definition and core essence of UX, contributing to increasing misunderstandings of the term. While User Interface (UI) design is an integral aspect of UX considerations, it is crucial to understand that UI and UX, though closely related, are distinct entities.

        This discussion underscores the importance of differentiating between UI design and UX to better address user needs and enhance overall user satisfaction in digital interactions.

         

        3. The demands and expectations placed on design across various fields have evolved significantly.

        Traditionally, when one mentions design, the mind conjures images of sketching, fashion design, or visual arts.

        Realization of a concept or idea into a configuration, drawing, model, mould, pattern, plan or specification (on which the actual or commercial production of an item is based) and which helps achieve the item’s designated objective(s).

        Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/design.html

        However, the latest definition of design encompasses much more than mere drawing. It includes the comprehensive planning, objective-setting, and creation of systems and interactions. This broader interpretation underscores the integral relationship between design—the planning phase—and production—the execution phase.

        Design thinking has been adopted as a standard practice among management teams within global corporations.

        Assessing a situation objectively

        Upon my entry into the digital industry in 2005, I rarely purchased or utilized pre-designed templates for website creation. At that time, the tools available for information sharing and platforms such as social media, which are now commonplace, were significantly less prevalent. This limitation made the design process more challenging compared to today’s environment, where information is readily accessible, facilitating a smoother and more diverse design process.

        This evolution has led to a diversification of tools and concepts, elevating the importance of terms like UX (User Experience) and UX Design. However, the interpretation of these terms varies significantly depending on an individual’s background, leading to a broad spectrum of practices and understandings within the field.

        With this context in mind, it is essential to adopt an objective perspective when considering the application of UX design. It is not always necessary or appropriate to employ UX design in every scenario. UX design is fundamentally academic, requiring extensive research and continual validation. As Bill Buxton elucidates in his video, altering the user experience through changes in hardware can create unprecedented value—an endeavor that represents the true essence and excitement of UX design.

        Consider, for example, the role of UX design in household appliances such as refrigerators and microwave ovens. While refrigerators primarily function to store food, the necessity of integrating IoT technology may not align with their fundamental purpose. Instead, enhancements should focus on improving their core functionality to store food more effectively and enhance daily dietary practices. Similarly, while modern washing machines may feature IoT capabilities and advanced functionalities, such as external detergent addition, these innovations do not fundamentally alter the laundry experience.

        Thus, the genesis of UX design involves a deliberate and thoughtful consideration of the challenges at hand, and how we can enhance the value of products and services without merely treating the means as an end. This approach requires a careful evaluation of what truly enhances user experience and aligns with the primary functions of the product or service.

        Get a Free UX Consultation!

        No matter the scope of your project, it’s advisable to consult a UX design expert early in the process. While not every situation may require a UX designer—sometimes a UI designer or even your existing team resources can suffice— recognizing this early can save on unnecessary expenditures. Engaging the right expertise from the start ensures that your project is not only cost-effective but also aligned with the best practices in user experience design.

        Call Now

        Free Download

        At Genki Brothers, we have initiated the startup “Connect” with the aim of exploring the integration of UX/UI design within business contexts.

        For those interested in creating innovative and unprecedented experiences in your business endeavors, we encourage you to read our book. Please complete the submission form provided below. Upon receipt of your email, an automatic reply containing the download link for the book will be sent to you.

          Your Email*


          *This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.