What is User Experience (UX) Design?
User experience (UX) design is the process design teams use to create products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users. This involves the design of the entire process of acquiring and integrating the product, including aspects of branding, design, usability and function.
Designing User Interfaces for Users
User interfaces are the access points where users interact with designs. They come in three formats:
1. Graphical user interfaces (GUIs)—Users interact with visual representations on digital control panels. A computer’s desktop is a GUI.
2. Voice-controlled interfaces (VUIs)—Users interact with these through their voices. Most smart assistants—e.g., Siri on iPhone and Alexa on Amazon devices—are VUIs.
3. Gesture-based interfaces—Users engage with 3D design spaces through bodily motions: e.g., in virtual reality (VR) games.
The difference between UX and UI design
When talking about UX, the term user interface (UI) design will inevitably crop up. However, it’s important to recognize that, despite often being used interchangeably, UX and UI are two different things.
It’s important to outline that user interface design is not the same as UX design. UI refers to the actual interface of a product; the visual design of the screens a user navigates through when using a mobile app, or the buttons they click when browsing a website.
UI design is concerned with all the visual and interactive elements of a product interface, covering everything from typography and color palettes to animations and navigational touch points.
UX and UI go hand-in-hand, and the design of the product interface has a huge impact on the overall user experience. UX design is everywhere: the layout of a supermarket, the ergonomics of a vehicle, the usability of a mobile app. While the term “user experience” was first coined by Don Norman in the 90s, the concept of UX has been around for much longer.
UX design is the process used to determine what the experience will be like when a user interacts with your product.
How is UX design important
1. It is a quality attribute of the UI, covering whether the system is easy to learn, efficient to use, pleasant, and so forth. Again, this is very important, and again total user experience is an even broader concept.
UX Design is, by definition, the process by which we determine what that experience will be.
2. UX Design always happens. Whether it’s intentional or not, somebody makes the decisions about how the human and the product will interact. Good UX Design happens when we make these decisions in a way that understands and fulfills the needs of both our users and our business.
3. User experience design is an approach to design that takes the user into account
While a designer can create a toggle, a flow, or an interaction that is beautiful, unique, sexy, and functional in a flow—UXD extends into all the disciplines that come together to make the user experience as a whole great.
Yes, you have interaction designers, but you also have content strategists, information architects, user researchers, engineers, and product managers—all of whom have a shared responsibility to create an experience that is easy to use, and leaves users pleased because it is adding value to them.
4. UX design is about solving problems through empathy
UX Design is an empathically-driven practice crafted to solve human and business problems, and remove obstacles and friction from a user’s desired goals—hopefully delivering delight in the process.
5. User Experience Design is a process for designing systems that offer a great experience to users
User Experience Design (UXD or UED) is a design process whose sole objective is to design a system that offers a great experience to its users. Thus UXD embraces the theories of a number of disciplines such as user interface design, usability, accessibility, information architecture, and Human Computer Interaction.
User Experience Design is practiced by User Experience Designers—who are particularly concerned with the interaction that occurs between users and the system they are using.
As you can see, UX design has multiple interpretations but it’s really all about keeping your users at the center of everything you create. UX design is about delighting users by anticipating their needs and giving them something they didn’t think to ask for.