User eXperience

What is UX Design and why should you learn it?

User experience (UX) is any form of interaction between a user and a product or service. UX design takes into account every aspect that shapes a user's experience. How they feel, and with how much ease they accomplish their desired tasks.

UX design consists of the complete process of getting and integrating the product. This involves branding, design, function, and usability.

UX design process involves multiple aspects of the product, for example, how it feels in your hand, or how seamless is the checkout process when shopping online.

The goal is to create an experience that is effortless, effective, relevant, and exceptionally pleasant for the user.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) defines user experience as:

A person's perceptions and responses that result from the use or anticipated use of a product, system or service.

ISO 9241-210, Ergonomics of human-system interaction—Part 210: Human-centered design for interactive systems

This definition can be broken down into 2 parts.

  • A person’s perceptions and responses.
  • The use of a product, system, or service.

In UX design, designers cannot control users' perceptions and responses toward their products or service. For example how the user feels or navigates their fingers, hands, and eyes while using the product. But designers do have control over the product or service. How it operates and looks.

An example could be using a physical device such as a computer mouse. A designer has control over some aspects of the product that will impact the user's experience. These aspects could be :

  • The physical measurements of the device. How big or small is it? Is it compact enough to fit in the user's hand? Or is it too big?
  • Its weight. Does it limit usage?

When using a digital product, some aspects that are under a designer's control include:

  • How easy is the navigation across the platform
  • Cues that guide the user to their goal
  • Appropriate timing of task visibility

What does a UX designer do?

A UX designer is responsible for optimizing the interaction between users and products. Their role involves making a product or service accessible, enjoyable, and usable for the user. They are concerned with the entire process. Their work begins even before a product is in the user's hands.

UX designers don’t only focus on producing usable products or services, their job is to consider other aspects of user experience as well, like pleasure, efficiency, and fun. A great user experience is their main goal which is achieved if the user's needs are met when interacting with the product.

A UX designer has the following significant roles and responsibilities during the design process.

  • Understanding the brand and user
  • Conducting user research - this involves identifying the needs of the user. Tools like an interview and questionnaires can be used.
  • Analysis - involves analyzing data collected to form user personas
  • Design
  • Conducting User Testing
  • Presentation to client or company

If you are working as a UX designer, that means you can apply your creative and analytical skills in a wide range of fields. You will have varying tasks almost everyday and project-based. This will give you numerous opportunities to learn new skills and grow in your career.

Difference between UX and UI Design

Wherever UX design is mentioned, inevitably, UI design doesn’t crop up. However, it is vital to know that despite being used interchangeably very often, UX and UI design are two different things.

User Interface Design UI is not the same as UX design. It involves the interface of the product, visual screens where the user navigates, or the click areas when using a website.

UI design is concerned with the visual aspects of a product interface involving color palettes, typography, fonts, animations, touchpoints, etc. Whereas UX designs focus on the user experience of the product and the entire journey toward solving a problem.

UX and UI go hand in hand because a product's interface has a huge impact on user experience. UX and UI designers have different skill sets and work at different stages through the process.

Designers' work on UX starts first because user experience requires extensive research to understand the user's goals and needs. The entire journey is mapped beforehand along with ways to improve it.

This is where UI designers come up with their interpretations of design. A feedback loop is created between UX and UI where testing occurs repeatedly.

Reasons why you should learn UX Design

For people who are naturally problem solvers, the field of UX design is a huge catch. It offers challenges and rewards on a human level. UX design is centered on the end user and this brings the designers very close to seeing the result of a project they work on.

Organizations care about user experiences. Which means they care about UX design in one way or the other. Learning UX design can help you become a valuable asset for your organization. And in the long run, you become your boss.

UX design when done rightly provides positive experiences to users that keep them engaged and foster conversions. If a website offers a great user experience and addresses the needs of the user it not only encourages new customers but also retains existing users to spend more time on the website and eventually make purchases.

The increasing number of smartphone users has also led to high demand for UX jobs. Organizations want to focus on a pleasant mobile phone user experience. Mobile app design comprises multi-layered design problems that come under the field of UX design.

According to Glassdoor the average salary of a UX designer in the US is over $110,000. the industry is growing rapidly, and with that, the demand is also increasing for hiring UX designers.

Know the User better

UX design is centered around understanding the needs of the user and pleasantly solving their problems.

The process involves spending time with users and making conversations about their lives and experiences to address their problems. Knowing effective ways to understand the user helps designers make powerful products and adds value to their work.

Wide-ranging designs

UX design is no longer limited to designing only web pages and layouts, it now includes designing mobile applications and specialized technologies like VR and AR.

Becoming an expert in the principles of user interaction can transform your designs into products that solve problems in real life. This functionality leads users to love the product and its use fullness.

Girl using a phone with a robotic arm

Making technology accessible

Technology nowadays requires complex human-machine interaction. Where a large number of users have adapted to this shift effortlessly, there is still a big chunk of users, for whom technology needs to become accessible.

A UX designer's problem-solving skills are needed the most when finding ways to help not just an average user but also solve problems that are a part of other demographics.

Improving your focus

UX design is a consistent loop of iterations and refinement. The focus is to search for better answers, not just one right answer. The design process is building testing and iteration.

UX designers work like scientists. To solve a problem, they derive a hypothesis around it and then keep testing until they arrive at the best solution.

Making your organization successful

Good UX design means happy customers, few complaints, greater sales, and higher revenues. an added benefit is elevating customers' perception of the entire brand. So as a UX designer, you are giving your organization a chance to compete in a saturated market.

Designing for real-life experiences

UX design is not just ink and paper, it goes into real-life experiences that change the way people carry out their everyday tasks. Good design will reach people in significant areas of their lives, for example catching a flight home, connecting with a friend, or capturing their child's first words.

A UX designer must take into account the life events, emotions, and priorities of users during their everyday life, design for them, and make things for them a little bit better.

Creating enjoyable experiences

UX design is not a dry field, it gives the designer pleasure from the technology they are working with and at the same time makes the experience an enjoyable one for the user as well.

Snapchat is an example of that. the app has room for being silly and superfluous as long as the app is enhancing the user's experience and connection to other people.