UX Design?
What is UX Design and what does it mean?

User experience design is a concept that has many dimensions, and it includes a bunch of different disciplines—such as interaction design, information architecture, visual design, usability, and human-computer interaction.

What is UX design?


It’s important to start by saying there’s no commonly accepted definition for UX design. But let’s try to get a clearer picture of what that really means.

The definition of UX design

According to a study from the Oxford Journal Interacting With Computers: The goal of UX design in business is to “improve customer satisfaction and loyalty through the utility, ease of use, and pleasure provided in the interaction with a product.” In other words, UX design is the process of designing (digital or physical) products that are useful, easy to use, and delightful to interact with. It’s about enhancing the experience that people have while interacting with your product, and making sure they find value in what you’re providing.

The first requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother. Next comes simplicity and elegance that produce products that are a joy to own, a joy to use. True user experience goes far beyond giving customers what they say they want, or providing checklist features. In order to achieve high-quality user experience in a company's offerings there must be a seamless merging of the services of multiple disciplines, including engineering, marketing, graphical and industrial design, and interface design.

It's important to distinguish the total user experience from the user interface (UI), even though the UI is obviously an extremely important part of the design. As an example, consider a website with movie reviews. Even if the UI for finding a film is perfect, the UX will be poor for a user who wants information about a small independent release if the underlying database only contains movies from the major studios.

We should also distinguish UX and usability: According to the definition of usability, 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.

User flows and wireframes

UX designers use a range of tools to map out the user’s journey through a product, including user flows and wireframes. User flows are basic flowcharts which visualize the complete path a user takes when using a product, from entry point right through to the final interaction. You can learn more in this introductory guide to user flows. While user flows map out the entire user journey, wireframes provide a two-dimensional outline of a single screen or page. We’ve covered the wireframing process in more detail here—and if you’re keen to get started, you can find a guide to the best free wireframing tools here.

Visual design

You’ll notice that none of the above tasks are concerned with the visual design of the product. While some UX designers will also specialize in visual design, it tends to fall under user interface (UI) design. So, the final imagery, color schemes, icons, and typography will usually be taken care of by a UI designer. If you’re confused about the difference between the two roles, here’s a great guide explaining the differences between UX and UI design.

One final point to make is that a UX designer’s work is rarely finished after the product launch. There will be refinements, small changes, new releases, feedback to gather and analytics to discuss with the team. The UX design process is highly iterative, and a career in UX is as much about collaboration and coordination as it is about design.

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