UX design isn’t a new field. It has been in existence and in the shadows creating a path for the experiences that have shaped our society for decades. But as a new technological revolution emerges, user experience has stepped into the spotlight and has become an integral part in creating dynamic design and fostering innovation.
User experience design is a very vast, multidisciplinary and super interesting field. It is now one of the hottest skills out there and this is because UX is a foundation that shapes the products and services we use daily, and can create tremendous success for a business or brand.
A career in UX is fast-paced and can most times be super challenging, requiring a highly diverse skill set. If you want to break in and become successful in this field, there’s a lot to learn!
In this article, we’ll provide the ultimate introduction to UX design and tell you the important things you need to know about getting started in this exciting industry from what UX design is NOT to what it really is.
Let’s dive right in
What UX design is NOT
In order to understand UX design and the role of a UX designer in brand and product creation, it is important and will be helpful to discuss what user experience is NOT.
User Experience is NOT “going with your instincts”
If a product is a building, then research is its foundation. UX Designers do not simply guess what their users may need, want and feel. They do not assume the usability of the product or go with their instincts in solving a problem.
UX designers infer their user’s needs and pain points based on thoughtful user research, user interactions, and data collection.
By gathering information and creating user personas, designers can identify a starting point to better determine how a product fits into the lives of its users and how best it can solve the user’s needs. “Going with your instincts” may mean ignoring some aspects of the user’s needs which could really be important in determining the success of a company’s product, service or overall customer satisfaction. Therefore, don’t go with your instincts, do your research appropriately.
User Experience is NOT making things look beautiful
Do UX designers want a product design to look visually appealing? Of course! But what is a visually stunning design if it’s not user-friendly? What is aesthetics if a product usability is terrible? Therefore, rather than mainly focusing on aesthetics and appeal, UX designers use a series of processes deep rooted in research and UX design principles to carry out a design process.
UX designers define the information architecture (IA), and proceed to making the navigation of a site, product or application easily mappable. Once the structure is set, UX designers create wireframes to begin creating the design. Like blueprints, they outline every step a user takes while using a product, and act as placeholders for the intended design. Build wireframes, create prototypes, carry out user testing and research to troubleshoot issues that may arise.
All of these contribute to creating a functional design which of course, also looks pretty.
User Experience(UX) is NOT User Interface (UI)
UX design is often used interchangeably with UI Design. However, while usability and user interface (UI) design are important aspects of UX design, they are only a subset of it.
While UI design focuses mostly on creating a pretty interface, trying to give a good look or style which users will find easy to use and pleasurable, UX design is more comprehensive and covers a vast majority of other areas.
A UX designer is concerned with the WHOLE product creation process, from acquiring and integrating a product, to aspects of branding, design, usability and functionality.
UX design is a story that begins even before the device gets into the user’s hands.
What is a good UX design?
There is no single definition of a good UX design. Instead, a good user experience design is one that meets a user’s needs in the specific context where the user uses the product.
UX design considers the Why, What and How of product use
UX design considers the Why, What and How of a product’s use. Why the users’ is adopting a product, does it relate to a task the user wishes to perform. What things people can do with a product—its functionality. And How the design functionality is. Making sure it’s accessible and aesthetically pleasant.
UX designers always begin with the Why before determining the What and, finally, figuring out How to create products that meet users expectations and needs.
UX design is User-Centric
User-centered design is an iterative process where a designer takes an understanding of the product users and their possible context as a starting point for all design and product development.
To design for different types of users also means you have to work with a heightened scope regarding accessibility and accommodating many possible users’ limitations, such as reading small text, reading fast, graphics sensitivity, etc.
It is always important that designers also be the users’ advocate and keep the users’ needs at the center of all designs and development efforts. Through the entire process of product creation, you need to think like a user, feel like a user, talk like a user- Be a user.
It’s important to state again that there is no generally accepted definition for UX design.
User experience design is a concept that has many dimensions, and which includes a bunch of different arrays—such as interaction design, usability, visual design, information architecture, and human-computer interaction.
User experience (UX) design comprises the entire process design teams take to create products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to different categories of users.
Here are what some UX design experts has to say,
“No product is an island. A product is more than just a 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 first usage to help, service, and maintenance. Make them all work together seamlessly.”
— Don Norman, inventor of the term “User Experience”
“User experience design is the process used to determine what the experience will be like when a user interacts with the product
If UX is the experience that a user gets while interacting with your product, then UX Design is the process which we use to determine what that experience will be before creating the product”
— Laura Klein, Principal at Users Know, Author of UX for Lean Startups and Build Better Products
“User Experience Design is an approach that takes into account all aspects of a product with the user. This does not include only the beauty and function: (usability and accessibility) of the product or the flow, but also includes things like delight, and emotions.
— John Amir-Abbassi, User Experience Researcher at Facebook