Staying ahead of the curve

UX Design changed considerably in the last two decades when users began to focus on mobile and now we have so many devices of all sizes – desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones and wearables, all supporting multiple aspect ratios. It continues to keep designers on their toes as we have to be so reactive to hardware changes in our individual creative processes.

It still shocks me how many young designers focus on the desktop – Why? I know it is so easy to check desktop whilst in work at your desk – I know, I know! but the desktop has reached a level of maturity. Mobile devices are seeing the largest growth in screen sizes which has led to a high demand for UI design.

Do not neglect mobile design or your product will suffer. People are on their phones all day, even in front of their desktop/laptop.

I am going share with you 6 crucial steps as a UX designer which will help you develop a strategy to target a range of screen sizes and devices.

 

1. Distinguish device groups for your product/service

It is almost impossible to target individual devices so define device groups for your products based on what your audience is likely to focus on.

 

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2. What is the focus of your user experience?

Every product or service has a focal user experience which solves a problem people have – this provides value. To find the focal point of your product ask yourself: “What is the common task a customer needs to achieve?” It is imperative to maintain these tasks on every channel you use for your product.

For example, Skyscanner’s focal user experience is to compare and book cheap flights. This feature should work well on each device regardless of screen size.

 

skyscanner

3. Design for the smallest screen first

Focus on a mobile-first approach and design on the smallest screen that is relevant to your users. In the past, designers have been used to designing for desktop and having so much white space for extra (often irrelevant) features. Designing for mobile first helps prioritise the key features and stops stakeholders from adding more and more unnecessary junk.

4. Adaptive Design

Don’t just expand your designs to fit large screens, the large screens need the same level of consideration. An adaptive design will warrant the best user experience based on whichever device the user is interacting with. Unlike responsive design, where a screen stacks from desktop design into a smaller device’s, the adaptive design offers customised solutions.

 

content_water_diagram

5. Support a consistent experience

At Together Incredible, we talk a lot about consistency as it is one of the most important factors in user experience. A consistent experience should be paramount across all screen sizes. It saves your company money, time and builds user confidence – winner!

Users don’t want to try work out your product on every device they interact with. Rather than creating bespoke designs across all screen sizes (which is nearly impossible), you can treat them as aspects of the same experience.

6. Build a seamless experience

This is will help you differentiate your product or service from your competitors. Users want to be able to move freely back and forth between devices to complete a task without thinking about what device they are using. The expectation in functionality is crucial – there should be no reason for the user to think this could be better.

Spotify is a famous example: you can set up a playlist on your desktop and it will immediately be accessible on your iPhone.

7. Test

Like everything in UX, we should test our products and not based anything on assumptions. Carry out usability tests for your product with real users on a variety of different devices and this will reveal any UX problems before it gets launched.

 

Conclusion

As a designer, it is not an easy task to create a seamless experience across multiple screen and devices. Users expect a frictionless user experience regardless of the device. The best approach is to always have the end-user in mind and assess when, where and how the product will be used in order to evaluate the optimal experience.

 

Other related articles:

Design-Thinking: Designers have become too reliant on surface-level visuals

4 tips to help build customer trust

The top 5 UX tips to consider