In a world of work being taken over by tech-based careers, many still do not understand or even know what User Experience (UX) design is. Firstly, when we talk about UX, we are referring to how people interact with a product. For example, when drinking coffee, we are interacting with a mug. The design of the mug – handle, shape, and heat resistance can impact how we feel and interact with the mug. In the world of digital design, UX refers to everything that affects a user’s interaction with a digital product – pleasant or unpleasant. When people use a product, they usually evaluate their experiences according to the following criteria:
- Whether they receive value from it
- It’s functionality. Does this product work?
- How easy is it to use?
- General impression. Is it pleasant to use?
Now that we understand what UX is, UX Design can be defined as the process of creating products – digital or physical – that are practical, usable, valuable, and desirable. This could be anything from how a physical product feels in your hand, to how straightforward the checkout process is when you buy something online. The goal of UX design is to create easy, efficient, relevant, and all-around pleasant experiences for the user.
“User experience encompasses all aspects of the end-users interaction with the company, its services, and its products.” — Don Norman, Cognitive Scientist & User Experience Architect
UX designers combine market research, product development, strategy, and design to create seamless user experiences for products, services, and processes. They build a bridge to the customer, helping the company to better understand and fulfill their needs and expectations. UX Designers consider the Why, What, and How of product use. The Why involves the users’ motivations for adopting a product, whether they relate to a task they wish to perform with it or to values and views that users associate with the ownership and use of the product. The What addresses the things people can do with a product—its functionality. Finally, the How relates to the design of functionality in an accessible and aesthetically pleasant way. UX Designers, utilize several technical skills crucial to their work, including user research and strategy (which involves data collection), wireframing and prototyping, user interface design, and responsive web design, among others. A solid foundation of soft skills, including project management, collaboration, and communication skills.
Ultimately, UX Design must meet the user’s needs, be easy to use and learn, and must give the user control and freedom. When it comes to meeting a user’s needs, the product must help them achieve what they adopted it for. For example, a user buying at an online clothing store is there to buy clothes and therefore, this need must be met by making the clothes they’re looking for accessible. Furthermore, the online store must be easy to browse and navigate around to retain the customer, and lastly, the customer has to have the freedom and options to adjust a few items in their cart. This is what UX design seeks to address and is an overlooked aspect of our daily lives. Everything single product we have come to form an emotional bond with starts with UX design behind the scenes.