UX Guidelines are user experience guidelines that deliver a consistent user experience across platforms or software. UX design focuses on the overall user experience of a game, software, or website. It works to solve the problem: how can we help people to easily use this product and love it?
UX design takes into account workflow and requires research on customer reactions. Does adding a button here make them hesitate? Does this header turn users away?
UX Guidelines seek to systematize conventions and user experience across development. It integrates the company’s vision and mission, customer pain points, and competitor analysis to standardize conventions for UX development.
Here is what to include in UX guidelines for your team:
Mission and Vision
Succinctly stating your company’s mission and vision in a few sentences at the top of the guidelines aligns the guidelines with the company’s goals. These will be the guiding principles of all UX design decisions. Is the UX supporting the company mission or detracting from it?
For example, if the company mission includes the statement, “To enable users to find new friends online” but the UX design makes it difficult to search by interest or geographic location, then the UX design limits the company mission and needs modification.
To create the best UX design, market research on customer’s needs and desires to enhance functionality and address pain points is essential. This is always evolving. For each new design, more research is needed to stay up to date and address customer’s needs.
In addition to market research, it is important to perform functionality research on users’ response to design layouts and functionality. Some questions to ask include:
- What causes an emotional response?
- What makes users leave a page?
- Why do users pause on a section but avoid clicking the CTA button?
- What colors improve user retention?
- Should we imitate a competitor’s design or make something original?
- Which site performs in split-testing?
Look for Solutions
Since the ultimate goal for UX design is to solve problems customers are struggling with. This should include design features to provide clear, compelling information. UX involves seeing the product through the customers’ eyes while providing value and solutions.
Good UX design also often means giving something away for free. An example is the free service option available on so many file sharing sites, from Dropbox to WeTransfer. Addressing customer pain points require the free services to build trust, but the UX design should encourage free accounts to upgrade through the customer journey.
Include a CTA
From a business and marketing perspective regular calls to action (CTA) are essential to move the customer along the path of user experience. CTAs can link to another webpage, prompt an upgrade or enhance the user experience. Good UX design not only addresses pain points, but directs the customer to the solution.
There are certain “laws” of UX design that improve functionality. These include:
- Jokob’s Law: Users prefer your site to work the same as other sites so it feels intuitive to them.
- Hick’s Law: The time required for a decision increased with the number and complexity of choices. For this reason, keep it simple.
- Miller’s Law: People can generally only keep about seven things in their working memory. For this reason, avoid too many choices, too much complexity, and make the choice clear.
- Law of Similarity: The human eye picks up on similar elements and expects functionality. If it looks like a link, they should be able to click it.
Link to UI Guidelines
While UX and UI are often used interchangeably, they serve different complementary purposes. UX focuses on the user experience while UI covers the user interface — how the customer works with the software.
UI is focused on the details of design such as color scheme, fonts and sizes, button shape and placement, widgets, and other elements of the physical website or software design. These are nitty-gritty conventions to give the site a uniform appearance and functionality.
It is useful to link to UI guidelines as your team will need to adhere to these for a cohesive user experience. As the two are complementary, further UX research can also inform changes in UI guidelines.
Summary of How to Create UX Guidelines
UX guidelines should require essential principles specific to your business, such as mission and vision, as well as detailed UI guidelines for design. Beyond that, UX guidelines need to encourage research and investigation into the needs of the customer, while encouraging collaboration and team problem solving.
Your team’s UX guidelines can be as unique as your team and your products. There are no right or wrong UX guidelines, only ways to encourage creativity, problem solving and collaboration to meet and exceed customer expectations.