Why do we like certain products more than others? How does a product become a success in a crowded market? User experience design can generate added value that creates the decisive difference to the competition and puts your products ahead.
Two aspects determine how we perceive and evaluate a product. Firstly, the pragmatic quality of a product, which ensures that we can perform our tasks effectively and efficiently with the help of the product, and secondly, the hedonic quality, which appeals to our emotional world and ensures that we enjoy and have fun with the product. We are experts when it comes to holistic product development, in which we take both pragmatic and hedonic aspects into account.
At the end of last year, one of our employees was once again able to undergo further training in the cathedral city of Cologne and has now successfully passed the examination to become a User Experience Manager (IHK) with a final thesis. In the mixture of seminar, lecture and exercise, the entire design process from a user experience design development was run through and applied to a real project. All participants were also able to conduct interviews with customers in the test lab. The creative exchange with colleagues from all over Germany is always particularly enriching for us.
We consider and design the pragmatic quality of a product fundamentally as part of our usability engineering process in accordance with the human-centered design process from DIN EN ISO 9241. This is about the suitability for use - the basic usability - of a product. We analyze the context of use, users and user groups, formulate tasks, usage scenarios and user requirements. In an iterative process, we develop design solutions that optimize products so that users can achieve their tasks and goals effectively, efficiently and satisfactorily in their context of use.
Hedonic aspects go beyond this pure usefulness. The product is not only useful and practical for us, it is also fun and enjoyable. A good user experience is crucial for the positive evaluation of a product and encompasses all emotions, perceptions, preferences, ideas, reactions and behaviors before, during and after using a product. If you want to improve the hedonic quality and user experience of a product, as a designer you have to understand the "why?" behind activities and feelings and understand the underlying needs of future users. Only then can you design products or services in such a way that they lead to an inspiring user experience.
Behind many activities and feelings, there are fulfilled or unfulfilled needs that we are often not even aware of and from which all our positive and negative emotions arise. If I put off changing the clock in the car because I've forgotten how to do it again, there may be a need for competence behind it. If I'm annoyed about the ticket machine that doesn't give me my ticket in time, perhaps it's because I'm afraid of being caught fare dodging and being exposed, and thus a need for belonging. An intuitive, easy-to-understand design can perhaps satisfy my need for safety and control. A sporty car can satisfy the need for attention, acceptance, fun, individuality or freedom. An employee whose need for appreciation is met will be happier and work more effectively. A user interface that takes away the user's fear of doing something wrong can fulfill needs for security, orientation and competence and allow the user to work more effectively.
If you can work confidently and quickly, this may lead to appreciation from colleagues or the boss or even a higher salary. The personalized banderole on the coffee cup with my name on it conveys appreciation and attention to the customer. Small things can often make a big difference. Our needs determine our daily activities and our emotional world. Needs vary from person to person and are expressed in different ways. We usually have several needs at the same time.
If we want to design a positive user experience, we first need to identify and understand users' activities, feelings and needs in an exploration phase. We can determine needs using interviews, e.g. via experience interviews or the valence method. We ask users about their experiences or determine positive and negative emotions (valences) as well as underlying needs during an explorative usage phase of the product. We create archetypes of users - personas - that combine certain characteristics of real target groups. In this way, we generate a common understanding of who a product is being developed for. With a user experience map, all activities before, during and after product use, design elements and aspects and associated thoughts / feelings as well as the identified (un)fulfilled needs can be recorded. This "map" then forms the basis for the creative design process in which we generate ideas to fulfill the needs of our personas and target groups.
In the first step, we can use various methods such as advertising or mood boards to summarize our findings in just one image. Here, emotional worlds, expectations and analogies can be brought together and experienced for all to see.
In the design process, it is then important to implement the identified aspects in the product and user interface design in a meaningful way, initially in the first preliminary stages and prototypes, and later in the final design concept. This should not only concern the aesthetic appearance (visual design), but of course also include functional aspects, which then make the small but important difference. Especially in increasingly crowded markets, a good user experience and hedonic quality of products is one of the distinguishing features and plays a major role in product and brand success.
The finished product can also be tested for its hedonic quality using the valence method or various quantitative test methods and compared with competitor products or the predecessor model.
We are also happy to support you in product development with our experience in the field of user experience design in order to create successful products for you.