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An introduction to UX design principles

A guide to introduce you to UX design principles

Great UX design can be simplified into a few core principles. Human factors will be at the centre of these, of course, and can be applied in product design, website user interfaces (UI), apps, games…anything that has a person at the end of the process who will use/consume what you are offering. We go into some depth in this article, but to get a deeper look download the PDF guide at the bottom of the post.

A guide for user experience design principlesThe practice of UX design can be divided into three types of principles:

Those you must follow: Web norms and standards, web development rules, laws, industry requirements, and the like fall into this category. We won’t touch on these very much, since these rules tend to fall outside the UX practitioner’s role (for example, you won’t be writing code according to the industry standard, or wrangling with the legal department). They are also often specific to one industry or another.

Those you should follow: These are the best-practice principles that have been developed over many years of testing, optimisation and experimentation. These UX principles make up the core of this subject, and we’ll teach you how to apply these to your online properties. But always bear in mind that not every tactic suggested here is the best one for every brand, company, platform, or tool – these best practices are a starting point (albeit an excellent one) for you to work from.

Those that are unique to you: We can’t tell you what will work for you; the only way you can really discover what works best for your unique brand, platform, target market, product, etc. is to experiment with various options and see what the data shows at the end of the day. For example, best practice might state that green is the best colour for confirmation buttons. But if you’re speaking to a Chinese audience, you might be better off using red, since this is the colour of good fortune in that culture.

The user experience is at the heart of it all

The user is forgotten surprisingly often in the overall ‘user experience’. While this may seem like the most obvious point,  business owners, marketers, web developers, and others frequently focus on creating the web platforms they want and think are best, instead of really interrogating what the user needs.

When designing for the user, you need to ask certain questions: 

  • Who is the user?
  • What are the user’s capabilities, web skills and available technology?
  • What features would make the user’s experience easier and better?
  • What are the user’s wants and needs from your platform?

The answers to these questions will come from user research. The UX practitioner’s job is to use research to discover the needs of users and interpret them in the best way possible, which could be challenging because many users might not know exactly what their wants and needs are. Keep Henry Ford’s famous quote in mind here: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

There‘s a lot more to User Experience Design than these principles, as you’d imagine. Download our Introduction to UX Design guide below to read about more principles, why it is important, where it fits in, and to get an overview of UX team roles and responsibilities.

Download the PDF guide below

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If you’re interested in adding this specialist skill to your CV – consider signing up for our UX Design 10-week short course or our 12 month National Certificate in Design Techniques, specialising in User-Centered Design. Delivered entirely ‘online’ with the added bonus of our ‘uniquely human touch’ – you’ll walk away with an industry-respected Red & Yellow Certificate and the ‘stamp of approval’ that you’ve got what it takes at the very least if you take the short course, or a SETA accredited NQF level 5 Certificate if you graduate from the 12 month programme.

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