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What is User Experience Design? Exploring the Field of UX Design

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What is user experience design?

User experience design is all about solving problems; this is why we can call a UX designer a problem solver. User experience design has the user as the point of concern. So, UX designers serve as the bridge between users and other stakeholders involved in creating digital products.

User experience has existed for as long as humans interact with products. However, Norman Nielsen coined the term for his group at Apple computer.

In his explanation, he said, "I invented the term because I thought human interface and usability were too narrow. I wanted to cover all aspects of the person's experience with a system, including industrial design, graphics, the interface, the physical interaction, and the manual." Don Norman's intention describes the essence of user experience.

What is user experience?

User Experience is a term that describes how users feel when interacting with a product. It represents a user's overall experience when interacting with a product.

A good example is when you open an entrance door. The ease or difficulty in knowing which direction to turn the knob describes your experience with the door. Users' experience informs the design of products, hence the term user experience design. ​

"I invented the term because I thought human interface and usability were too narrow. I wanted to cover all aspects of the person's experience with a system, including industrial design, graphics, the interface, the physical interaction, and the manual." - Don Norman

What is user experience design?

User experience design creates products that "align with users' needs and give them a seamless experience while interacting with the product.

UX design creates (digital or physical) practical and straightforward products. It's about improving people's interactions with your product and ensuring they find value in your offering. The user experience design focuses on the user, shaping what a UX designer does. ​

What does a UX Designer do?

A user experience (UX) designer ensures that a product is easy to learn and use for the end user. A UX designer works from the start of any process to ensure that product teams build products that are aware of their users' needs and pain points.

UX designers collaborate with branding, navigation, content, and development functions to ensure that these elements are linked together to get a fluid result.

A UX designer's decisions influence an end-user's purchase power and willingness to use a product. A UX designer's updates and tweaks to a live product can positively impact customer retention and lifetime value (CLTV).

The function of a UX designer is not about the visual appeal but the product's functionality and usability. The aspect of design concerned with visual appeal is the user interface.


What is the difference between User Interface (UI) and User Experience Design? ​

User interface designers focus on the interface of a product. They don't have to work on the interface flow or the user's journey through the product.

The focus of the UI designer is to create a product that is visually appealing to users. The visual appeal is also part of the users' experience, but it does not define the overall experience. The UI design includes colors, styles, and font size.

However, they still need to work closely with UX designers to know the visual design relatable to users' needs. ​

What Skills Does a User Experience Designer Need? ​

User Experience design is a combination of technical and soft skills. Beyond the visual appeal, it deals with users' pain points and challenges. Possessing interpersonal attributes is essential to create a product that addresses these pain points. A perfect blend of soft and technical skills guarantees a product that gives a good experience for users.​

Some of the technical skills needed in UX design are:
  • UX Research

  • Wireframing & prototyping

  • Visual communication

  • Interactive design

  • Design thinking

  • User flows

  • Interaction design

  • Testing designs

  • Decision mapping

  • Information Architecture

  • Mood boarding

  • Visual & UI design

Soft skills needed in UX design are:
  • Empathy

  • Communication

  • Organization

  • Curiosity.

It takes time, constant practice, and dedication to develop these skills. There are UX design Bootcamps where experts teach and train people extensively on these skills.

Also, these skills are proof that the UX field is vast, and there are different career paths in this field depending on the skill specialty you possess

Careers in UX Design

User experience design is a broad field. Before reaching the end goal of creating a positive user experience, there are many activities to cover. The process can be overwhelming for a person or a team. Thus, the process has been broken down in many organizations, creating new career paths in this field. Some of the career paths in UX are listed and explained below.​

  1. UX Researcher. As the name implies, UX researchers are concerned with all aspects of research. They collect data on how people think, feel, and behave. They share their findings with the entire product team, assisting everyone in better understanding the target audience. Finally, UX researchers remove the guesswork from the design process by ensuring that the team has enough information to make data-driven product decisions. ​

  2. UX Writer. It is easy to ignore writing as part of the product design process, but the words on a product interface significantly impact the user experience. The industry has finally recognized the value of UX writing, and UX writers are now one of the most in-demand jobs in the design field.​

  3. Information Architect. Information architecture is the organization of content across a product or system. It is a critical component of user experience design because it determines how users navigate your product. An Information architect considers the user's journey through the site to determine how to organize the information on each page. Their goal is to make it simple for the user to find items. ​

  4. UX Strategist. We often discuss the user-centric nature of UX design, but in reality, it is more than designing products that meet your customers' needs. UX significantly impacts business, and UX designers often operate between the end user and key business stakeholders. UX practitioners strive to strike a balance between user needs and business objectives. It has resulted in the emergence of a new role: the UX strategist. UX strategists bring a user-centered mindset to the boardroom while ensuring that the design team works toward the business goals. The UX strategist considers business needs and advises key decision-makers on how to compete in their chosen market, deeply understanding UX and the importance of putting the user first. They could assist in defining the company's UX vision and mission, resulting in a UX roadmap. ​

Final thoughts

User Experience design is not complex at all. It's all about knowing what users want and their challenges and creating a design plan that solves those challenges.

If you are considering a career in UX design, you can sign up for the GoCreate USA Bootcamp. You will have the chance to learn from experts in the UX industry. Beyond the skills, you can also learn from their experiences.

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