UX consultant is one of the most interesting and in-demand careers today. What is exactly a UX consultant? What are their responsibilities and skills? Which secret knowledge must they have to make a great digital product? In this article we’ll try to answer all these questions, as well as provide some rules that every UX consultant uses in their job.
What is a UX Consultant
First of all, a User Experience consultant is not a brand new job. It has been on the horizon for over 20 years, just when the UX Architect job emerged. Don Norman first introduced the “User Experience Architect” job title to the public when he joined Apple in 1995. On the position he combined his profound engineering and cognitive science skills to assist in design of user-centered products, and succeeded. Later Don Norman published his book “The Design of Everyday Things”, which became a “UX Bible” for designers worldwide. Since then UX design, UX consultant and UX Architect became ubiquitous terms both in business and daily life.
What is a UX consultant concerned with? Generally a UX consultant focuses on making an app or a website a pleasure to use for the end user. The only difference between a UX consultant and a UX Architect or UX designer is that the first one is not among your staff members yet. UX consultant works remotely, but provides the same set of skills and services every UX designer and UX architect offers. That includes not only working on usability of the app’s UI, but also how simple the logic of all functions is, how easy to understand all interactive elements of the app (or website) are. Secondly, every UX consultant ideally should have a vast software engineering experience in addition to great designer skills. Moreover, with the evolution of UX design such skills as user research and customer advocacy are also becoming important for this job.
Skills of the UX consultant
To make a career as a professional UX consultant one must be proficient in multiple disciplines: technology, psychology and design. Focused on users, but always keeping business goals in mind UX consultants must leverage user information they’ve got to design the best possible prototype of the product. Furthermore, these specialists also conduct a user research prior to the analysis of all the gathered user data. User research and its data analysis are fundamental for the UX consultant to build a viable product structure.
Professional UX specialists are also the ones who create wireframes and do prototyping of the product. Moreover, an expert UX consultant always makes design decisions backed not only by qualitative, but also by quantitative user research data.
Responsibilities of the UX Consultant
The role of the UX consultant in the company or startup requires a high level of responsibility for the outcome, which is ultimately the product itself. However, the work of the UX consultant doesn’t end with the launch of the product to the market. It continues afterwards and lasts with an ongoing analysis of the product launched, its further functionality and UI optimization in accordance to customer’s feedback. Constantly achieving better user experience, usability of the product while at the same time aligning that with business goals a UX consultant contributes to the product success, customer satisfaction and eventually profits.
5 Major UX Rules Every UX Consultant is Guided by
Provide an optimal user experience
Speak a user’s language and remove as much psychological burden placed on the user with a new app as possible. Usually that psychological, also known as cognitive burden arises each time when a user starts using the software, which doesn’t meet his own understanding of how the product should work for him. That’s due to inability of the app developers to understand that in the perception of end users the final product must be very far from what back-end of the product is. Thus app developers must focus on making the product intuitive in use, even if this requires additional codework.
Introduce as few interactions as possible
App users, as well as website users don’t like to be bored with tedious scenarios. That’s why it’s crucial to reduce routine interactions to as few as possible. Replace boredom with easiness right at the start. UX designers should think of the ways to optimize app features constantly. Moreover, they should focus on making the app simpler to interact with, not the work of developers.
Create a predictable interface with no interruptions
UX designers should create product interfaces that will not cause frustration to its users. The app users should not be interrupted; on the contrary, they should be in the app’s state of flow. To achieve this interactions within the app and its functionality must be easily predictable. The app users should know how to start interaction with the product without any hesitation.
As a UX consultant or an in-house UX designer you should also accumulate your effort on reducing clutter and any distractions for your users in the app. They should have an easy access to the feature they most care about. Distractions always disperse the attention of users, so they can’t get focused on any goal or scenario. Removing obstacles in user experience will stop interruptions. This will positively result in better UX, customer satisfaction and app user base growth.
Design UI with clear goals
If users of your app or website doesn’t reach their goal fast that’s bad. If they don’t see any evidence of the progress towards reaching that goal it’s even worse. For users it’s important to understand that they can achieve their goal even if it requires a lot of effort from their side. It’s the job of UX designers to make very goal within the app feasible.
Create a faster navigation structure
Don’t be afraid to optimize and develop your own navigation structure. No need to copycat traditional navigation. It’s better to make up the one which would allow faster and more intuitive user experience. Offering a navigation which requires only one gesture to reach the necessary function drastically benefits the users of your app.
5 More Psychology Rules Every UX Consultant Uses
Difference in response to colors
Women and men doesn’t not respond to colors the same way. So it’s important for UX designers to know who the audience of the app is before creating a color design scheme. Color makes a tremendous impact on a user’s perception of the app: over 90% respondents think that it’s the color that creates the app’s first impression. So as a UX consultant you should choose your color scheme wisely to make the app a success.
Context is the king
Perception of the content is mainly based on its selection and interpretation by users. Thus seemingly the same content can be interpreted by two groups of users differently based on their readiness to identify this or that element. Perceptual set theory has explained this phenomenon in detail. So UX designers must take into account that the context plays a significant role in interpreting of the content by users. Make sure your app users have the experience and previous knowledge that will allow them interpret your app content the way you expect them to.
Large and simple typeface
Understanding the difference between what end users of the app want from it and how UX designers see that need is important. Users want a simple, intuitive interface to easily interact with. That means that the typeface must be as large as it’s necessary for users to easily digest the content. Unlike UX designers app users don’t really care about the latest typefaces. Usability is what important for end users. Expert UX designers recommend using types of the size not less than 16 px.
Image positioning is crucial
No successful app or website user experience is possible without appealing visuals. However, it’s advisable to position images in a way that users perceive them together with the content, not apart. Thus UX designers must make sure that any human placed next to the product on the visuals has its gaze towards the product, not in the opposite direction. End users should have their focus on the product, not the human on that visual. Thus correct image positioning can enhance the perception of the product by users, strengthen their focus on it.
Redesigns must be gradual
Experienced UX designers know that big brands almost never do major redesign at one time. All redesigns must be done gradually, with the least interruption for users. Moreover, all redesigns must be tested and measured, so that any changes in design are based on the user data and their feedback. The psychology behind this is simple: users don’t like big changes. So make sure to introduce subtle changes and don’t stop experimenting in the quest to achieve the best usability and user experience.
Adoriasoft is the UX consultant firm with over 8 years of successful experience in UX design, software development, Android mobile development and iOS app development. Contact us if you need top-notch UX consulting services in regards to product wireframes creation, prototyping and eventual product development!