5 ways to improve your UX design

Digital innovation doesn't have to mean ripping up the rule book – it can involve trusting your gut and paring things back to the essentials. 

Here, Halo's technical director Alex Martin and senior UX/UI designer Tim Banks reveal how the studio stays ahead of the curve when it comes to new technologies, and share some best-practice user experience design advice (scroll down to watch the video).

01. Focus on the big idea

To help festival T in the Park stand out in a crowded market, Halo used vibrant colours and strong typography

“Data can drive you in certain directions, but it won’t show you if there’s a big idea,” says Tim Banks.

“If you want to change something radically, it’s hard to have data to hand beforehand. Sometimes you need to do more testing afterwards, to go, ‘You’ve had this hypothesis, let’s actually test it to see if it works in a real environment.’”

02. Don’t lean too hard on research


The classic quote from Henry Ford, inventor of the motor car – “If I asked people what they’d wanted, they’d have said faster horses” – applies to modern innovation, too.

“You’ve got to go with your gut at first – testing comes after,” insists Alex Martin. “User research can be overwhelming, and you’ll just give them 
a better version of what they’ve got, rather than something new and fresh that’ll actually make a difference.”

03. Keep it as simple as possible

Gigs in Scotland benefitted from Halo’s user-friendly design, with the clean layout allowing music lovers to easily find the information they need

“Strip out everything you don’t need, and give people the clearest and most straightforward journey you can,” is Martin’s advice. “Sometimes the UX is great to start with, but people mess up on content.”

04. Consider content from the outset

As the old adage goes, content is king 
– so don’t make it an afterthought. “You see designs that have been made without any idea of what content will go into them. That’s a big failing,” argues Banks.

05. Avoid gilding the lily

“As developers, we need to be careful not to put in things just to keep ourselves amused. We’re all guilty of that,” warns Martin. “There’s no point just changing it 
up unless there’s good reason.”

This article originally appeared in issue 269 of Computer Arts magazine. Buy it now.

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