The 5G Series: UX Matters – The need to measure User Experience now, more than ever before!
While most of us UX professionals put across our designs, thoughts, and principles at the workplace, we could still learn a lot from the physical user experiences around us. While it is different from when applied in product designs, we often come across instances of user experiences in our day-to-day lives. For example, getting ketchup out of a glass bottle versus squeezing it from an inverted plastic container or a supermarket that organizes their shelves by brands as opposed to a category. Have you ever pushed a door, which you were supposed to pull?
As consumers of products and apps, we are all consumers of user experience. In the software product world, creating the right user experience design is all about improving the user interaction with the product which is unobstructed and concurrently productive. It plays a vital role in every organization, be it in the primary stage of launching a product, an MVP (Minimum Viable Product), or a revamped product. But user experience is often disregarded while creating a new product or a design. There is a misconception and often businesses get this wrong that if it is a back-end solution such as an admin tool or a dashboard, the concept of UX can be ignored as it is not customer-facing. But for a UX designer, everyone who uses the product is a user and to make a unified/seamless experience is the ultimate intention.
So, what is UX, and does it really make a difference?
According to Nielsen Norman, UX or “User Experience” encompasses all aspects of the end-user interaction with the company, its services, and its products. It is not just about how things are arranged but involves various steps to arrive at that. There are various elements like layout, visual design, text, brand, sound, and interaction that make up a good experience. Whether you are creating a new product or redesigning an existing product, it is easy to get snared with exciting new additions. But the truth is you can lose track of the reasoning behind adding the additional functionality or the content. User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) go hand in hand, but its definition is often confused. UI focuses more on the graphics in the interface such as the color, fonts, or essentially the look and feel of the whole product. This basically takes care of the entire branding guidelines of each company. Whereas UX design is more about purposeful structure, usability, and content. You design the product keeping the user at the center rather than designing an appealing product that proves impractical to the people using it.
It is very important how the data is placed in a UX-driven layout. Most often, users tend to skip tedious steps or when too many action items are put in front of them. The idea is to give the users information which is relevant instead of making them go back and forth between multiple screens.
If the user must perform tasks, the number of steps can be reduced and displayed in such a way that both the information as well as the tasks are performed without friction.
A study conducted by Adobe shows that 39 percent of users do not engage with the interface (i.e. website or dashboard) if images would not show up or takes a long time to load. On the other hand, if the interface is well planned and designed, its hit rate can go up drastically.
Rising challenges with new tech
Gone are the days where you can have a mediocre product design. The newer generation of consumers (GenZ’s and Millennials) in this digital economy demand products that are appealing and at the same time seamless and convenient. With the advancements in technology, consumers will demand a single unified view of data that is accessible and easy to use. This will eventually lead to product complexities which could be partially solved by adding or developing a feature. For example, the 5G network will enable connectivity ahead of the capability of its predecessors, releasing the full potential of the Internet of Things (IoT). According to the wireless industry trade group GSMA, 5G’s ultra-reliable low-latency communication will be able to connect 100 times more devices and up to 100 times faster. The study also reveals that 5G will account for 15 percent of global mobile connections by 2025.
UX designers have started to build competency on carving new and innovative ways on how devices will interact with the next-gen wireless technology. Some of the future-looking design prototypes that are easily relatable, and which are being explored include:
a) Wearables, where the display screens are getting smaller and smarter.
b) Product accessibility, such as hand-held device features of tomorrow.
c) Voice-enabled devices to seek and solve how users will explore and navigate features using voice commands.
In the Telecom sector, with the increasing demand for high-speed wireless, network providers have begun the race to dominate the 5G network coverage. This has initiated conversations to build optimal and streamlined 5G transmitters using technology and talent. Real-world modeling such as 3D maps is one such effective tool that helps reduce the number of physical site surveys. A customized 3D map interface built with UX insight aids in unearthing complex network designs making them accurate, easy and fast which will all ultimately lead to resource optimization and improved savings. Additionally, the tool facilitates in measuring coverage area accurately while implementing 5G beamforming i.e., how to dynamically place these transmitters according to the location of the users. Unlike in 2D maps, the user can now identify the number of floors in a building, types of terrain, etc. with a 3Dmap and on the other hand, giving insights on how beamforming will allow access points to effectively concentrate signals in the selected location.
Getting a good UX design in place will unravel these intricacies by not only easing the difficulties of how products will interact with other applications but also with design, usability, and functionality thereby enhancing the overall user experience.
At Subex, our UX design is not just focused on creating products that are functional but products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to our users. Our network analytics products backed by user research and user experience help resolve complexities that come with the growing digital economy. With design thinking principles that form a part of our UX design framework, we address multiple complex and or largely undefined problems to create winning solutions with a user-centric approach.
To know more about the role of intelligent solutions, with state-of-the-art UX, in a 5G environment
Preeti is the User Experience designer for Capacity Management Portfolio at Subex with about 9 years of experience in UI and UX. She has worked in various sectors like Banking, Finance, Retail, and e-commerce. She likes creating designs that have challenging problems to solve and believes a good experience will instantly connect with people.