Relating UX Design to Visual Design for Meaningful Interactions

In the world of design, UI and UX are often used interchangeably. However, designers have to merge aesthetics, usability, component placement, layout, spacing, and typography to create meaningful and functional interfaces. All these factors of visual design influence significant interactions and drive conversions for a business. All of this sums up to User Experience (UX), a broader term in design. UX Design is a designing process that supports the user’s behavior and includes usability, desirability, and relevance to improve the interactions with a product. On the contrary, visual design is about enhancing the aesthetic appeal of a product/service. The common approaches to improving visual design include adding a new color, layout, spacing, etc. The problems with visual design can discourage users from discovering all the intelligent choices for navigation or interactions in a design. Therefore, a visual design should focus on the essential elements and actions that a user is expected to perform. It should make designs balanced, fresh, robust, and functional. In recent times, designers are leveraging UX design more than visual design to deliver exceptional design quality.

Don Norman, the inventor of the term “User Experience,” emphasized its importance with this quote. “No product is an island. A product is more than the product. It is a cohesive, integrated set of experiences. Think through all of the stages of a product or service – from initial intentions through final reflections, from the first usage to help, service, and maintenance. Make them all work together seamlessly.” This blog will help you better understand UX design and virtual design, how they’re related, and why UX is stronger than Visual Design.

Visual Design – A Closer Look

Visual design focuses on increasing the aesthetic quotient of a product/service. The focus of visual designers is more on placing all the elements carefully so that the user experience is optimized. Visual designers want to drive as much traffic/conversion to an app/website by uplifting the visual representation. Users/website visitors don’t like to spend much time on a website that takes too long to load or is not visually appealing enough. Hence, visual designers also play a critical role.

Visual Design Elements

The fundamental elements used in the visual design space include:

  • Lines: (straight/ geometric/curved/organic) are used to create divisions, shapes, and textures.
  • Shapes: Created using lines, colors, gradients, shadows, etc., to form enclosed areas.
  • Negative space/whitespace: Designers can use the blank area around a visible or “positive” shape to create a figure or calm the design overall.
  • Volume: This is used to display the fullness of three-dimensional images on two-dimensional screens.
  • Value: This is used to relate lightness and darkness utilizing a light source to create shadows and highlights.
  • Color: Using different colors can help set the tone/theme and grab the user’s attention.
  • Texture: This helps provide different variants of an object’s surface.

Guiding Principles of Visual Design

Unity – This relates to the harmony between various page elements. They need to be cohesive and related to ensure that the users aren’t challenged by chaotic (misaligned or disconnected) layouts.

Gestalt – These principles define how people perceive objects and use your design based on their interpretation.

Hierarchy – The most important elements are highlighted using placement, font, color, etc., while the related or less important ones are displayed using a different color/font/placement scheme.

Balance – This ensures the even distribution of elements based on the screen space, orientation, and other factors.

Contrast – This is used to accentuate and emphasize some aspects while dimming the others.

Scale – This helps increase or decrease the emphasis of an element to signify its importance or depth by making it larger or smaller than other elements.

Dominance – This helps use a component’s size, color, shading, etc., to make it stand out.

Defining UX Design 

UX design is about designing an entire process with the intent to improve users’ experience. Some of the essential activities that are part of the UX designing process include integrating products, adding critical branding aspects like logo, theme color, improving the usability of the apps, and so on. UX design is a vast area, and UX designers cover many more activities at once. They always focus on ensuring that the users acquire relevant experience while using an app and their needs are also fulfilled.

Fundamental Principles of UX Design 

Higher Focus on User Needs: It is the most fundamental principle of UX designing. According to this principle, users’ convenience and relevance should be the most crucial aspect of any UX design project. We often observe that designers get influenced by competition, and they end up designing complex websites/apps to impress fellow web designers. What they forget is that the primary aim of UX design is to fulfill the users’ needs.

Consistency: The secret to creating any successful website is consistency. UX designers should ensure that the design and functionalities of all the web pages are the same. Users most often come to your website or download your app with some pre-defined expectations. It is a designer’s responsibility to respect them. And consistency is something most users expect. Consistency saves their time and helps them navigate your website without any confusion.

Context Alignment: Any UX designer must interact with the target users before the designing process. That helps them understand the app context and assists them in the ideation and designing phase. UX designers should consider running user surveys as a “must” activity before starting any designing process. That helps them build a broad idea of what the users need, what they are missing, what they don’t like.

Accessibility: Another essential principle is developing designs that are accessible. By accessible, we mean designs that are available to everyone. The list of “everyone” includes people with disabilities as well. An app that is equally accessible to all groups of people can quickly become a success.

Usability Testing: The final UX design principle is about constant usability testing. The intent is that designers should never stop collecting feedback from the users and run their usability tests even after the website or application goes live. UX designing is an iterative process.

What do UX Designers do? 

UX designers do much more than simply User Interface designing. Apart from designing an entire process, UX designers are also involved in doing the following:

  • Conducting detailed user research
  • Validating the UIs from time to time to ensure users’ needs are met
  • Writing UX copies
  • Presenting the UX design to the marketing team/board members

In short, the responsibilities of a UX designer begin long before the users get hold of the website/app.

How UX Design and Visual Design (UI) Differ?

A virtual design is all about making an application or website look good. It includes creating appeal and organizing elements to:

  • Lead users to a component’s functionality.
  • Improve aesthetic consistency.
  • Remove uncertainty.
  • Reduce cognitive on the user and improve memory.

Alternatively, UX design takes care of website mapping, planning the website flows, focusing on user journeys, and most importantly, help the users navigate across web pages with ease and a logical flow.

To summarize:

  • UX design helps identify and solve user problems, while visual design helps create aesthetically pleasing, intuitive, and interactive interfaces.
  • UX design is the first stage in the product development process that UI follows. The UX designer works on the user journey map (blueprint) while the visual designer fills in the details of the visual and interactive elements.
  • UX refers to a product, service, or experience, while visual design is specific to digital products and experiences.
  • A UX designer needs to consider solving practical design problems (using tasks, user pain points, user research, steps, etc.). In contrast, a visual designer needs to focus only on the various aspects of a design.

How are UX Design and Visual Design Related?

The reality is that both UX Design and Visual Design go hand in hand. Both of these are crucial parts of successfully launching a website or an application. Visual design is an aesthetic extension of UX design. Modern users need more than beautiful and compelling animations on a website. They also seek top-notch functionalities and features. Similarly, users don’t like working on a website that may function as per their expectations but doesn’t look good. So, UX design and visual design are the same tree branches and complement each other. Here’s how UX designers and Visual Designers can work together.

Advantages of UX Design over Visual Design

Better Visibility on the User's Problems: Unlike Visual Design, UX designers have excellent prospects to understand the problems and issues faced by users. UX designers can directly connect with the users to encounter their concerns and to offer them effective solutions. Visual designers don't always get the chance to interact directly with the users. This can create a communication gap. This communication gap often creates roadblocks, and they may not always stay updated with the industry trends.

UX Design can validate the Underlying Concepts: There is no place for any conjecture in UX design. UX designers are constantly testing different products and designs to validate the underlying designs and concepts. However, for visual designers, validation or iterative designs are not part of their job bucket. As a result, their jobs may seem monotonous at times.

UX Design can also Improve Sales and Engagement: Some parts of sales and design may depend on visual designers as individuals can sometimes make decisions based on the visual representation of a website/app. However, in most cases, UX design has a more significant role to play when it comes to increasing sales and engagement. UX designers have a deeper understanding of the users' perceptions, and accordingly, they plan the website template, its projections, its features, etc. It makes their jobs interesting to interact with audiences and to improve a product's longevity based on the interactions.

Concluding Thoughts 

Both UX design and visual design equally contribute to a website or application's professional and successful development. Nevertheless, UX design does have the edge over visual design. UX designers interact closely with target audiences, understand their emotions and expectations, and get a better picture of what to create. That's why they get several chances of skill improvement. On the contrary, visual designers are concerned about the creative aspects, and audience-interaction is not a part of their jobs. That can be a disadvantage at times. Other than that, UX design and Visual design rely on each other to make designs meaningful and exceptional. Connect with Radiant's UX design team to learn more!


Crafting Seamless Enterprise Experiences with Omnichannel UX Design

UX design provides a gateway of convenient and intuitive interactions between a brand and a customer. A user perceives a brand as a single experience rather than a collection of different interactive channels. This calls for the delivery of consistent brand experiences through design through all the connected channels. As emerging technologies evolve, so do user expectations. Users have become more sophisticated where their benchmark for a good experience is higher than ever before. Nowadays, users need to interact with brands on various devices and prefer multi-channel engagement. The intelligent, minimal, and seamless design of products and services is the need of the hour. Thus, user journey-based converged and context-specific UX design can accelerate brand loyalty.

Omnichannel UX must put the user at the center of a seamless ecosystem. This environment should promote exceptional user engagements and 'loop' user experiences across channels aligned to their motivations and habits. Omnichannel UX design improves cross-channel engagements. It 'loops' their experience across channels aligned to the user's motivation and habits. According to Kim Flaherty from the Nielsen Norman Group, "Organizations must create omnichannel UX strategies to optimize the end-to-end user experience when completing a task across devices and interaction channels." This includes how customers will first hear about a brand, purchase it, and what after-sales support the company intends to offer.

An omnichannel design strategy should factor in the customer, employees, and the business. Often, companies forget about improving the experience of their internal applications for their employees. They need to weave experiences around enhanced employee productivity, satisfaction, and loyalty, thereby decreasing operating costs and employee turnover. At Radiant, we've outlined the best practices and examples of how your organization can create a top-notch employee experience. In addition to increasing sales and brand loyalty, it can help improve ROI, employee productivity, and satisfaction.

What is Omnichannel UX? 

Omnichannel UX is a design approach to ensure that users continue to enjoy a unified experience across all the channels connected to your enterprise platforms, digital applications, and websites.

The Need for Omnichannel Design

The goal of omnichannel design is to reduce the pain points resulting from an employee moving between channels and touchpoints. It offers a strategic omnichannel approach to direct users to act instantly on product/service triggers and motivations in a channel-agnostic environment. An Omnichannel design strategy helps focus on:

  • Establish and expand your brand presence in a minimalistic, unique, and user-friendly way.
  • Create consistent experiences across online and offline channels for payment processes, Data management, and other functions to improve internal employee & customer journeys.
  • Create frictionless and high-quality channel transitions.
  • Improve the brand's responsiveness to ad hoc customer/employee needs.
  • Increase design relevance and delivering bespoke experiences through proper R&D and A/B Testing.

Important Definitions

  • Touchpoints are app or product interaction points that take place between an employee and their organization. In an enterprise environment, it would be the tasks that the employees need to complete.
  • Channel is where the employee-business interactions take place. The modern omnichannel design differs from the traditional one in implementing a bidirectional approach to employee communication where simultaneously the business and system users can interact.

Five Tenets of Good Omnichannel Design

Omnichannel UX design helps create smooth transitions and exceptional experiences regardless of brand interactions. These six principles govern how Enterprise UX designs are shaped.

Consistency: Any UX needs to deliver consistent and meaningful experiences associated with your brand. The screens must be familiar and uniform, buttons must be consistent design and functionality-wise, while the tone of voice, homogenous. Consistency drives trust, comfort, and credibility.

Optimization: UX designs must be optimized to add clarity, purpose, and context to the interaction channel and user journey. Context and function-based optimization enable allows value maximization. It can also differentiate your organization and enhance employee engagement by leveraging technological capabilities that fit different channels.

Seamlessness: With the omnichannel design, the same employee experience standards should be available in all channels. A seamless design makes transitions between touchpoints frictionless and straightforward. Employees should be able to pause an activity and resume it later from an alternative touchpoint. This seamlessness offers a holistic, real-time view of the employee interface and backend integrations with all the channels.

Orchestration: The Omnichannel design must let the organization use data to anticipate user needs and display relevant content on the right channel on-demand.

Collaboration and Channel-Neutrality: Irrespective of the purpose, your design should allow employees to switch between touchpoints and see the same data and options across all the channels. A business driver for one channel may create a bad experience in alternative channels. This can be avoided when diverse touchpoints work in tandem to enrich the all-around employee experience without delays or interruptions.

Implementing Omnichannel Enterprise Experiences

The first step in enterprise UX design implementation using the above principles includes learning more about the target users. A/B Testing helps understand your users' expectations, preferences, and context-specific behavior. Analyzing data from interviews and surveys (UX research) is also crucial in determining the best channel types to access content and functionalities in an enterprise system. After designing an omnichannel experience, you must measure the employee cross-channel interactions using KPIs and metrics. This helps improve the transitions between multiple channels.

Here's how omnichannel UX experts at Radiant Digital apply the above tenets to internal enterprise design.

Making channels consistent: We ensure that users don't have to reorient themselves when switching to a new channel. This is useful for tasks that employees don't use that often.

  • We provide consistent iconography and layout for different channels.
  • We use a design system or style guides based on the resources available across all channels in an organization.

Making touchpoints Optimized: We ensure the core experience of any channel is the same while the content and features are specific to their context of use. If two employees with different roles and responsibilities use a shared channel, we ensure they see only the relevant touchpoint.

  • We set up user roles as per the employee's organizational position and authorized channel tasks.

Making Channels Seamless: If users have to complete a task, they may need to navigate different channels. We design the UX interface to meet each subtask and redirect the user to the location where they need to execute the next subtask. The user should not have to recall which step they were at and open and close applications.

  • We create guided flows that take users through the workflow without worrying about where they are or what they need to do.
  • We design the flow for requests and approvals within the application, along with status updates. This way, users don't need to contact their supervisors outside of their working application.

Enabling Orchestration in individual Channels: Orchestration primarily implements automation and data analytics to simplify an employee's workflow.

  • We implement the pre-population of information (auto-fill capabilities) required by a particular user on a specific channel.
  • We employ built-in automation for repetitive tasks by integrating the core system modules with RPA software.
  • We use data analytics and business intelligence to get visibility and direction on what work needs to be done next by the employee.

Collaborative Design: This includes determining whether the channels work together for a unified experience in a related group. We assess if the employees can share and collaborate easily with other users throughout their workflow.

  • We identify the workflow areas and optimize their handoff to the next person in the task flow.

Omnichannel Buy-in

  • Omnichannel design requires a multi-area understanding of the business and catering to multiple teams.
  • Designers need to map out and measure the ROI of an omnichannel UX design based on the current workflows.
  • Departmental silos primarily impact the seamlessness and consistency of an employee's workflow. It can be jarring to navigate applications when the style systems and context differ from another employee application.
  • Leadership buy-in is essential to cater to the above needs. It also ensures seamless team collaboration in omnichannel enterprise design.

Retrospective

Designing omnichannel experiences help provide 360-degree engagement between employees and organizations. A design team's victory lies in building accurate omnichannel designs around people and their needs using backend platforms and APIs. An omnichannel user experience positions your design to offer fluid and customized interactions. When you embrace omnichannel enterprise design as a UX designer, you must be in a position to transform employees into brand ambassadors. Connect with our omnichannel UX experts to learn more!


[Webinar] Open Finance: Having a conversation instead of a transaction

https://youtu.be/PXu4HuU0RIY

An engaging conversation on how digital transformation within financial institutions enhances customer engagement with our guest speakers, Kaushal Shah of SWIFT and Radiant Digital's CEO, Shankar Rachakonda.

We have all been busy with enabling different transactions and value-added services for our customers in the past. We will now apply AI on top and come up with more contextual and relevant content and service. But to take the engagement to the next level, we should focus on it being a conversation and not just a transaction. As in sales, we talk about open-ended questions and train our reps to do so. From day one, it is time to move from a "transaction," a close statement, to an open conversation. APIs have been a stepping stone on this front and helped us incrementally improve this experience, but what could take it even further is "APIs & Event Management" as a backbone that enables these conversations.


Techniques for Outstanding Technical Writing

You can search online for technical writer qualities–clear, concise writing, quickly understand concepts, strong interpersonal skills–but those will only get you through the door. You still need to deliver results. A helpful trick to be an outstanding technical writer is to work smarter, not harder. This article will discuss the techniques and benefits of using guides provided by a client and creating your guides while working on technical communication projects. (If you don’t want to search online for technical writer qualities, see the end of the document.)

Use the guides and templates provided by the client

Most clients will have their brand guides, style guides, and templates. It would be best if you used your initial project ramp-up time to become familiar with any guides and templates. You will need to know where to find them and how often they are updated. Usually, they are not updated too often, but you will need to make sure you have the most recent versions. Knowing the guides and having them up to date helps avoid rework.

Brand and style guides

Read any provided guides and ask any questions you may have. Compile the pages that you may need to reference frequently in a separate document. Organize your compact guide so that it is relevant to you–page order, bookmarks, highlighting. Once compiled, place it in a convenient location.
Outside the Box Use your monitor’s background as a quick reference for essential information. Create an image of helpful information, company color codes, acceptable fonts, registration, trademark lists, etc., and set it as your background.

Templates

Some companies have templates for everything–from executive PowerPoint presentations to memos. Acquaint yourself with the templates you will work with and when they should be used. For example, there may be separate templates for internal versus external presentations. While they may look similar, there will be critical aspects on one or all of the slides that help protect company information.
When it comes to templates for documentation, use the styles that are in the document. However, a new style may be needed for one reason or another. When you add to the base template, make sure the style aligns with the rest of the document, including indents, tab stops, and line spacing. Once you have the types you need in a document, that document should be the one you use as the template from then on–don’t go back to the original template unless you imported the new styles. When you start a document that you know has all the correct styles, you avoid reinventing the wheel.
Outside the Box When working with PowerPoint presentations, slides that were initially internal-only may be used in an external presentation when the information is allowed to go public. Always build presentations with this fact in mind, so these internal slides that will eventually be external, are created and formatted in a way that is acceptable for external use.

Create your guides

If a company doesn’t have its guides, a project has specific requirements, or there is just a lot to remember, create your guides and job aids. No doubt you will be taking a lot of notes as you work. Compiling them in a single document or folder will help you locate the information you need when you need it. You also don’t need to start from scratch to create your guides; you can search the internet for a starting point and then adapt as needed. Creating guides helps you and helps any team members get up to speed on a project quickly.

Style guide

Creating your style guide is especially helpful when creating multiple related documents that have similar structures and content. You can list the required sections for a document and describe how to handle differences between them. Create lists of standardized text, phrases, and formatting to keep the documents consistent.

Quality control guide

If you make no other guides, create a quality control (QC) guide or checklist. As you work, you will notice common mistakes and, while you are trying to keep an eye out for them, you will miss some. By listing them in a QC guide, you will remember to look for or to use the search option, when possible, to find any mistakes. Be sure to include a list of words that are spelled correctly but are not the right word. Some may include:
• plot – pilot
• manger – manager
• flies – files
• filed – field
• too – to
• form - from
Your QC guide can also include common formatting errors or a client’s formatting preferences. For instance, making sure a heading stays with the content that follows, that the last word in a sentence is not on a new line by itself, or that a table row does not break across a page.
Outside the Box Use the search and replace it with a formatting option to highlight punctuation marks and make potential errors more visible. Highlight all the periods in a document to find paragraphs that are missing periods, bullet points with inconsistent punctuation and structure, and even find long sentences.

Process documents

Create process documents for your own work needs, especially for tasks you don’t often do. These don’t necessarily need to live up to the standards of your client deliverables–sticky notes are handy for short processes or reminders–as long as you can access and digest the information in a reasonable amount of time, they are worth the effort to create.

Conclusion

Whether you are using guides provided to you or created by you, they allow you to focus on gathering and organizing content and, ultimately, creating quality documentation rather than general aspects of the project. At Radiant, these are just a few techniques our technical writers use daily. Contact Radiant for your technical communication needs, and let us show you how our internal commitment to quality is reflected in our product delivery.

TECHNICAL WRITER QUALITIES

A Technical Writer Should:
• Have an eye for detail
• Be able to see the big picture and focus on the details
• Ask questions (even if they are “dumb”)
• Accept criticism
• Push back, but be flexible
• Avoid overthinking
• Know how to find information
• Solve problems traditionally and creatively

BENEFITS OF A TECHNICAL WRITER

A Technical Writer Can:
• Provide an outside perspective
- Identify any overlooked or extraneous information
- Help consider different approaches
• Understand multiple perspectives and adjust documentation accordingly
- Internal versus external
- Marketing versus process
• Provide experience in a variety of document types and industries
• Work independently and within a schedule and budget


Why UX Matters in the Customer-Centric Digital Economy

Many companies focus on innovation and better ways to represent themselves through their product designs to stay relevant and competitive. UX design is the primary ingredient in the secret recipe to exceptional customer service delivery. According to Win the Customer:

  • 86% of customers would pay more for a better product experience.
  • 89% switch to a competitor because of a bad customer experience with a business.
  • 73% said friendly customer service made them trust a brand entirely.

This proves that UX design is pivotal to any strong marketing strategy that helps prioritize and build customer-oriented products. This blog dives deep into why UX matters. It also covers the ‘Why,’ ‘What,’ and ‘How’ of UX Design.

UX Design Definition

UX design is the process design teams use to craft products that offer meaningful and relevant user experiences. This includes designing how the product is acquired, integrated, represented & branded, and its functionalities. It includes enhancing a product’s user satisfaction by improving its usability, accessibility, and interaction quality. UX design usually needs consideration for the following aspects:

  1. Product Packaging
  2. Content
  3. User-friendliness and ease-of-use
  4. Multi-platform and multi-device support

What’s the Goal?

A well-planned and targeted UX design makes interactions more engaging while guiding the user organically to the desired action. Great design amplifies the value it delivers through user experience and directs the intended users towards a product goal. Thus, UX is not just a design layer but also a mediator between what you offer and what customers will experience. It can help retain customers provided it is straightforward, intuitive, engaging, and responsive to a wide range of users.

Why is UX a Key Differentiator?

Companies need to carefully consider their customers’ attention demands in the current competitive climate and deliberately focus on UX optimization. A top-notch and sales-inducing UX design is a crucial differentiator in a landscape where ease-of-use, reliability, and usefulness are top customer priority.

Still not convinced? Here are the top benefits of effectively leveraging UX design for your business.

Improved Conversion Rates: UX design influences higher screen time, improved retention, and customer call to action. This translates into better conversion rates and higher ROI when customer interactions with a design are less complex and faster.

Higher SEO Rankings: UX design goes hand-in-hand with content on a website. Search engines are built in a UX-quotient sensitive way. A UX design should include SEO-optimized content that would provide a higher ranking for the website on SERP pages with minimal effort. Google SERP shows a higher preference for sites that offer an excellent user experience. Optimizing the UX quality of your design will enhance your company’s ranking on search engines.

Enhanced Customer Loyalty: A UX design is as good as the experience it offers. A good UX design should let customers explore your website without limitations and complex interactions. UX designers must provide a cohesive set of experiences to improve the customer lifetime value by understanding the customers’ psychological tendencies. Customers stick to brands with UX designs that are positive, familiar, and comfortable.

Boosts Cost Savings: UX design involves careful and extensive user research, wireframing, information architecture mapping, prototyping, implementation, testing, and deployment. The entire process involves costs at different levels. While building a functional UX design, you can accurately estimate the costs involved and the potential ROI of the product. A good UX that has been thoroughly tested for errors, usability, and resource consumption can avoid additional expenses you may have incurred otherwise.

Edge over Competitors: UX designers must engage in UX research to better understand how customers use your product and which actions are essential to them. This lets you tailor digital experiences that appeal to target customers. Your UX design should be equipped to guide users along the desired path while enhancing the experience. This can be a crucial asset that differentiates you from competitors.

Elements of an Ideal UX Design

Great UX is built of these elements that help foster trust among your users for your products and deliver what they need. You need to map out each of the following elements and optimize your UX design accordingly to deliver the best user experience.

  • This includes building a responsive design that ensures your site is device-agnostic and functions appropriately.
  • An attention-grabbing yet simple design is essential to retain your users. Streamlining your design to make it aesthetically pleasing is essential.
  • Any element (button or a link) on your website should be purposeful and work without glitches, interruptions, or disconnections.
  • Site navigation is crucial since it helps users quickly find what they are looking for rather than guessing what each screen element does.
  • Your UX design must reflect your user's needs and avoid less valuable elements that take up more space or time to load.
  • Your UX design should indicate and increase the value of the product it represents.

UX as a part of your Marketing Strategy

UX is the cornerstone of any marketing strategy guided by these 4P’s and 4C’s model tenets.

Product: UX design influences how well a product would function and perform in the market.

Price: How well a UX design performs and caters to the customers’ requirements will influence your profitability and pricing.

Place: UX designs can be customized or made location-specific to cater to the needs of its users.

Promotion: Most businesses venture on promotions to provide their branding message and increase product awareness and sales. UX designs offer the first point of customer contact and can be valuable during promotions to increase your customer base.

UX design can also be used to support the customer-oriented 4 C’s Model 

Customer: Customers should be the focal point of a UX design. The ability to engage and retain customers through universal appeal is essential for any UX designer.

Convenience: Along with powerful performance, a UX design must embody convenience as a fundamental attribute. The user should be able to use a design on the go and at any time during the day. Thus, UX design must be mobile-centric and should work seamlessly on multiple platforms.

Cost to Satisfy: Customers prefer online channels to physical ones. UX design plays a pivotal role in reducing the cost to satisfy customers when designing a digital platform. A minimalistic yet intuitive design supporting a single-point of access can drastically reduce the operating costs.

Communication: A UX design must be robust enough to connect people and to the services they want. Most UI components of your design should be self-explanatory and indicative of their purpose.

Communication elements like tooltips, footnotes, header text, etc., help enhance user interactions.

Why, What, and How of UX Design from a Product Perspective

As a UX designer, you should delve into the Why, What, and How of a product you're designing.

Why: This includes the users' motivations when designing a product, how they perceive and execute a task involved and the views and values that shape why a user would use the product.

What: This addresses the end user's intention of using a product and the functionalities/features they want the product to have.

How: This relates to how each function is designed in an aesthetically pleasing and accessible way.

UX designers start with the 'Why'; then they determine the 'What' and finally, the 'How' to create valuable and meaningful product designs and fluid experiences on any device.

UX design- A Common Ground for Multi-disciplinary Designers

UX design is a multi-disciplinary field that converges the skills of multiple designers in the customer journey. UX designers can have skills that include visual design, programming, interaction design, and psychology. All of these serve a common goal of "customer-centricity." Designing for human needs will need UX designers to improve accessibility and consider physical limitations such as color blindness or small text readability. This a UX designer must perform maximum user research, create personas, design wireframes and prototypes, and test designs. These tasks may vary based on the organization but must prioritize the users' needs. Most UX designers work with a user-centric approach and keep themselves well-informed of the trends and user contexts. This helps them channel their efforts and optimally address user needs and issues. Any user-centric design is iterative, where the process starts with the basic understanding of the user context.

Concluding Thoughts

UX design renders a positive user experience and redefines customer journeys for your business products. Thus, it is paramount to revisit your UX design and measuring its usability as your website evolves. UX design is thus imperative to any successful project. It allows you to take a deep dive into your users’ needs and foster your relationship with them.

Connect with our UX experts at Radiant to learn more!


The Digital Thread is imperative for new growth in Digital Twins and AR

Most enterprises aspire to be digitally transformed. Innovation as the engine of growth favors this initiative, especially in the immersive technologies space. A core enterprise priority now is to deliver new customer experiences through digital products and services. This mandates the collection and analysis of operational data used to make process adjustments for cost reduction, efficiency improvement, and reliable business outcomes. The biggest challenge today is deploying disparate technologies within a unified business function.

The Digital Twin is foundational to any digital transformation. It offers the latest representation of a system while mimicking an enterprise’s machines, workflows, controls, and systems. A communication framework connecting traditionally siloed components and processes is still required. With such a framework, companies can achieve an integrated view of an asset throughout the digital product lifecycle. The Digital Thread is that framework that offers snapshots of a product’s or system’s lifecycle.  Engaging both these technologies can potentially enhance your operating models, revenue streams, and workflows. It propels performance across the product innovation chain, enterprise value chain, and asset chain.

How Digital Twin and Digital Thread Differ?

The Digital Twin is an executable virtual model of the physical equipment that can be iteratively updated across the entire lifecycle. It specifies the engineering components, the materials used, and the behavior of these components. It includes the operational data and as-built information unique to asset representation.

The Digital Thread is a communication framework that enables a connected data flow while offering an integrated view of the asset’s data throughout its lifecycle. It covers all the siloed functional perspectives. The digital thread paradigm delivers the correct information to the right place at the right time.

The Augmented Reality Dimension

Augmented Reality (AR) and Digital Twins can be relatively merged to offer seamless, immersive experiences. However, it is essential to understand the unique set of challenges that come with deploying these technologies. In the AR industry, dealing with the deluge of data flowing from numerous connected sensors, devices, and components is a pervasive challenge. AR requires the building of virtual copies of products and processes. Implementing the Digital Twins in AR helps assess key performance indicators like unplanned downtime, throughput, changeover time, material wastage, etc.

This helps identify and isolate issues and deploy fixes. Using the Digital Twins, iterations are made cost-efficient and less time-consuming. Digital twins also help position companies for next-gen computing that is interactive, spatial, and intelligent. All of which is pivotal to Immersive experiences provided by AR.

Digital twins are components of a larger digital continuum-a Digital Thread. The Digital Thread binds data sources used in AR implementations to create a virtuous cycle from start to end. It renders better efficiency gains and performance improvements. Thus, the baseline digital twin reflects the dynamics of the environment it mirrors when integrated with AR using:

  • Connectivity and networks to transfer sensor data into the models used in AR.
  • Data intelligence to translate raw data into actionable data insights that can help in the AR model evolution.
  • Simulation offers a virtual view of operations using AI and ML.
  • A human/machine interface on wearable or mobile devices to get the context of a machine or system meaningfully for a specific function.

Key AR-Digital Twins Implementation Challenges

Operational Disparity: The Digital Twins often exhibit the inability to scale and cover all the envisioned state stages in AR modeling. While moving from a pilot to full-scale implementation, getting commercial value out of your Digital Twins and AR assets becomes a problem compared to when experimenting with application code. There are often disparities between the virtual representation creation of the current state and an aspirational future state.

Resource Management Problems: The lack of readily available 3D content and the complications that arise with the need to scale up content as conditions change is an inconvenient process in terms of AR. With Digital Twins, live insights are generated as processes take place. There is a lack of an interface that can effectively convey and convert these insights. In recent times, AR has become the go-to technology for creating user manuals, instructional tutorials, and quality assurance manuals. Although these custom-created tutorials provide higher ROI initially, updating them is a big challenge.

Modernization Setbacks: Also, products and work processes need constant refinement and modification to match productivity goals. This requirement adds to the challenges above. Often in AR, legacy equipment is connected to several connectivity and control systems. This equates to challenges in capturing the correct data, aggregating it in a meaningful way, and analyzing it.

Weaving a Solution with Digital Threads

Augmented Reality can be compounded with Digital Twins to solve the inherent and independent complexities of these technologies.

All the products and processes have a digital identity with unique characteristics. In practicality, there is a constant need to update and scale content in an ever-changing environment.

The dynamic data sets collected through various IoT sensors present on the physical systems can be mapped out as a single Digital Thread. This Digital Thread holistically combines the Digital Twin of a system and the corresponding AR processes. It is the collaborative unit of multiple Digital Twin instances within the simulated systems’ environment.

Live Digital Twin data offers a real-time view of internal processes and system statuses. Hence, the Digital Thread acts as a single composition of all the disparate digital identities within the physical system or operation.

Demonstration with the Volvo Case Study

The Volvo Group specializing in manufacturing trucks, construction equipment, and industrial engines employed Digital Twin and Digital Thread technologies to update and scale QA for AR experiences continuously. Each engine required 40 checks with about 200 possible QA variants that had to be executed in 8 minutes at the QA station. Usually, it took five weeks to train employees on this complex inspection procedure. So, Volvo combined Digital Twins and Digital Threads to establish and maintain data flow consistency and efficiency. They leveraged the Internet of Things (IoT) for data integration across various platforms to ensure real-time data synchronization.

A single integrated digital entity was delivered using AR so QA technicians could access the latest engine configurations near real-time. This AR solution overlaid 3D data and QA information directly on the physical systems through computer vision for tracking and anchoring content. This technology integration helped Volvo reduce the time taken to update and validate a QA process from 24 hours to less than an hour. Training times were drastically reduced from 5 to less than two weeks.

Wrapping up

AR companies need to consider the Digital Thread to achieve greater efficiency and carve a niche in this dynamic and challenging space. Strategically leveraging Digital Twins and Digital Threads helps achieve true digital transformation with a higher market share in the AR experience lifecycle.

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