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Yes, there are UX/UI design industry trends to follow, technology and programmatic advancements to incorporate, and customer relationship development best practices to keep in mind.
But the intangible principles that inform your agency culture and the way you work with your partners can and should be in place to guide you through the rather ambiguous realm of user experience design. What might be considered obvious isn’t always so, and so designers would do well to have at least a few fundamentals in place that can be applied to most experience design projects.
Here are five steps you can take to create an innovative user experience design. To be clear, this is not an exhaustive list of what constitutes innovative user experience design, nor a “how to” for execution.
1. Defining innovation
This is a simple idea that requires a lot of work, so it’s important to articulate it in a way that’s unique to your team’s philosophy from the get-go. Each project you launch highlights what you recognize as innovative and what your customers react to the most.
This approach is experiential in nature. Keep track of your innovative ideas and let them spark your own creativity in a way that’s exciting and inspiring for the brands you serve.
2. The interdisciplinary approach
User experience, user interface, branding and visual identity design always work together, whether or not they are explicitly part of the client’s scope of work. If your client is heavily focused on visual identity or SEO, it behooves you to articulate what each of these means and how they depend on each other to achieve the best possible results.
The goal is to unite all design principles, both tangible and intangible, and a siloing of these disciplines will be apparent in the final project. Keep your team members connected throughout the work lifecycle and be aware of how each component fits together.
Related: Usability First: Why You Should Pay Attention to User Experience
3. Know the brand
Before wireframing and development, spend some time in the discovery phase. Do the research, contextualize the brand, find the implications and create a rationale. Know your customer, what they want and the space in which they exist. When you propose your direction to the brand, it must be convinced that you have learned the ins and outs of what it is and that you understand the challenges and opportunities that exist specific to its identity objectives.
Brands embarking on a user experience overhaul or elevate want to know they are being heard before a project launches, and sharing analysis for them to react will assure them that everyone is on the same page. wavelength and progresses from a fundamental understanding of identity, needs and ambition. This allows you to define and measure what success looks like at the start, and compare it to the results during the post-mortem analysis of your work.
4. Always be diverse and inclusive
This is the baseline and should go without saying. Diverse and inclusive design principles open the possibility for many creative directions. If digital design and development isn’t accessible, the experience won’t be as compelling as it could be.
This should certainly start with understanding the brand’s target audience, but within these is a diverse community of people who should feel welcomed, seen and engaged from the start and throughout their digital journeys. Gendered language, undiversified visuals in photography and graphics, inability to reach or communicate with anyone experiencing physical, geographic or technological limitations must be considered and addressed.
Related: Why Your Website Needs to Be Accessible to Everyone
5. Let the story drive
It can be as simple an exercise as starting by answering the “who, what, why” for your customer and building from there. Creative and concise written expression with a strong voice that reflects the brand encourages users to journey through as many journeys as it is useful and compelling for them to absorb.
If you want users to find out about all the areas the customer is interested in, you have to (story) tell them how to get there. Each touchpoint and place of descriptive verbiage should inspire navigation to the next point. If this area is missing, brand audiences will miss the benefit of gaining a full understanding of identity and value, so find creative ways to broaden and extend the experience so that the user be ready to meet the call to action and engage directly with the brand.
Related: User Experience Is The Most Important Metric You’re Not Measuring