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Thoughts / 04/16/2018

Left- or Right-Brained UX Design: Which is Smarter?

Let’s tackle some common misconceptions about User Experience (UX) Design. This is important because once you clearly delineate what UX Design is from what it is not, you will be better able to select the right design partner, engage more effectively in the design process, and dramatically increase your chances of a highly successful Digital product launch.

UX Design…Magic or Science? Or Both?

While the purpose of UX Design is clear, for many in the tech and corporate worlds, the UX process is akin to some mystical, purely intuitive activity performed by an eccentric initiate mumbling secret incantations and slowly spinning a color wheel while sitting alone in a softly lit room. The sun sets, the sun rises, and an award-winning website, mobile app, or desktop application emerges, destined to change the world.

Not so fast.

DOOR3 challenges on a daily basis the notion of the inspired guru. And we back up that challenge with an impressive portfolio of award-winning work and a multitude of successful digital product launches, all accomplished through transparent, repeatable processes by intelligent, articulate, right-brained designers following well-defined logical (left-brained) processes and usability principles, to:

  • Understand the end users, their needs and aspirations
  • Define the ideal user journeys for those users
  • Understand where the ideal user journeys intersect with our clients’ business goals
  • Prioritize features and capabilities based on our findings from above
  • Create a design balance that emphasizes and enhances the prioritized features
  • Test designs through exposure to project stakeholders and end users
  • Refine UX design based on feedback, clear communication, and thorough follow-through that repeatedly yields great results.

This high-level sketch of our process is meant to convince you that UX design at DOOR3 is a systematic activity focused on defined steps…which it is. We begin with an in-depth analysis to point out where usability testing has revealed user pain points and continue through with the knowledge we’ve gained to create intuitive user interfaces that optimize work flows and maximize navigational clarity.

Meeting business objectives through great UX design.

All that said, our designers do possess a rare capability which is a bit challenging to define, but is probably best summarized as “taste.” You might say, “Ah ha! I knew there was going to be some magic mumbo jumbo here.” So let’s demystify even this.

Taste, in the context of design, is probably best defined as the empathic ability to predict the response of others to various design choices, and the ability to make design choices in order to evoke a desired response. In this way, taste is not in and of itself goodness or badness, as in “this person has great taste.” Rather, it is the ability to apply taste to match the task and the audience.

A great designer can comfort, shock, delight, or disgust, depending on the needs of the website, mobile app, or business application. Taste, like every other aspect of design, is therefore not a mystical trait but an ability to deliver on business objectives professionally and predictably, and to discuss those business objectives in clear, lay language to ensure alignment with project stakeholders.

What is special – and what sets great designers apart – is the ability to empathize deeply with the audience. That is a “right-brained” talent that different people possess to different degrees, but it is still not magic.

Put DOOR3’s brains (right and left) to work for you.

At DOOR3, we select designers based on their right-brained ability to gain empathic insight through dialogue with clients and users, and the demonstrated ability to create results in a systematic, predictable manner that are in line with that insight. And our designers support each other in following (and continually refining) a left-brained, communication-oriented process that is proven to deliver great results.

At its core, great UX design is a whole-brain, fully engaged activity that requires smart people to be immersed in a smart process, working transparently and without a hint of mysticism. Should you find yourself engaged with a designer who speaks in vague terms and does a lot of “hand-waving,” contact DOOR3 for a better experience for yourself and for your end users.