What is User Experience (UX) Design? What does a UX Designer Do?

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Let’s understand this in a layman language.

Let’s suppose I have gifted you a new iPhone. You have used it for about 1 month now. And now I am asking you to share your 1-month iPhone experience with me. You won’t just stop expressing your satisfaction and joy with me, How easy its interface is, How beautiful it is and so on.

These emotions, these feelings of joy, happiness, even sadness, anger and disgust is actually an experience of yours with that particular service or product. In simple Words, it is the User Experience or simple UX.

  • What is User Experience (UX)
  • What is User Experience Design or UX Design?
  • Who is UX Designer?
  • 6 Major Responsibilities of a UX Designer

Brace yourself and Let’s begin

What is User Experience?

User experience (UX) refers to the interaction a user has with a product or service and the experience they have with it. It is in fact a person’s feelings, attitude and emotions they feel while using any product or service.

“User experience encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.”
— Don Norman, Cognitive Scientist & User Experience Architect

A great User experience (UX) is rooted in having a deep understanding of users. It focuses on, what they need? What are their abilities, and limitations? The beauty of a great User experience (UX) is that it even takes into account the business goals and Strategy.

Peter Morville represents this through User Experience Honeycomb

  • Usable –Ease of use is vital.
  • Desirable — Image, identity, brand, and other elements of design must evoke emotions.
  • Findable — It should be easy to navigate so that users can easily find what they need.
  • Accessible- Design should be accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Credible- Design elements should be such that Users trust and believe what you tell them.
  • Valuable- Value must be delivered which can increase the customer satisfaction.

In fact, User experience (UX) is subjective because it is essentially about individual perception and thoughts of users in regard to a system. It is also important to note that User experience (UX) varies dynamically, modifying over the course of time because of change in usage circumstances.

Having said that, User experience (UX) is all about how a user interacts with the product and experiences it.

What is User Experience Design or UX Design?

User experience (UX) design is an Empathy driven process of designing a product or service that are useful, easy to use, and delightful to interact with.

Main goal of UX Design is to ultimately enhance the satisfaction & loyalty within the user.

UX design considers all the elements to shape up a great User experience (UX) . So, from touching the physical product with your hand and feeling it; to navigating through an app; to purchasing a T-shirt on a website and being able to do the smooth checkout; User experience (UX) Design is about creating a design that makes an easy, efficient and Pleasant experience for the user.

“No product is an island. A product is more than the product. It is a cohesive, integrated set of experiences. Think through all of the stages of a product or service — from initial intentions through final reflections, from first usage to help, service, and maintenance. Make them all work together seamlessly.”
— Don Norman, inventor of the term “User Experience”

Since decades Design has been associated with the graphic design which mostly includes How the Product Looks. However, a Great Design is not only about how it looks but also includes the experience that a user has while interacting with a product.

And UX Design is the process by which a UX designer builds that experience around the product.

From Functionality, to Graphic Designs,to the emotions, to Usability of the Product and so on, a UX Design is an integration of all these aspects.

UX Design Quadrant

UX Design is a multidisciplinary field drawing elements from cognitive science ,psychology, computer science, communication design, usability and more. Infact UX is an umbrella encompassed in four main disciplines
Experience Strategy(ExS), Interaction Design (IxD), User Research (UR) and Information Architecture (IA).

UX design is about designing a holistic Experience Strategy including business strategy and needs of Users & company.

Interaction Design (IxD)

UX design is about how the user interacts with a system and it should be such that allows user to complete their tasks easily. Interactive Design includes all the interactive elements. For Example- Buttons, Page transitions and more

User Research (UR)

UX (user experience) research is the systematic investigation of users and their requirements.
And thereby, it helps you in uncovering problems, gathering facts and revealing insights which serves many purposes throughout the design process.

It includes conducting User Interviews, Defining User Personas, Usability Testing and more

Learn how to conduct user experience research here.

Information Architecture (IA)

Information architecture refers to organizing information and content in a meaningful way, so that user can access it easily and navigate their way around a product. UX Designers works with the IA architects to determine the relationship between different sets of content.

Who is a UX Designer

Well after knowing about UX Design in brief, now understand who these magical UX Designers are.
Well UX Designers are those who design the product/services by considering lot of aspects of Design.

For Example
WHY a user would use it?
Whether they can easily adopt the product?
If the provided service/product can ease or complete the user’s task?
What innovative functionality and features should be added so that users can’t resist using it?
Weather the Idea is feasible or not?
Does the User like the Idea? and take their Feedback to design the product?
And Lastly, HOW to implement the idea into reality?

In other words, A UX designer seek to design products so as to create a Great User Experience (UX). Essentially, they use design thinking process and build Design which perfectly combines user’s desires with technical feasibility and business viability.

What a UX Designer Does?

A UX designer first seeks to understand and observe the User by conducting Empathetic research and studying competitor as well.

And then they use the observations to build User Persons by identifying user’s goals, emotions, pain-points and behaviors.

After identifying the Design Problem, UX Designers Brainstorm with the Team to form solutions and then creates wireframes and prototypes of what the final product might look like.

In addition to that, UX designer also conduct user tests with target users to learn about validity of the solution and use the feedback to iterate the prototypes unless UX designer has built something which is loved by the Users.

So, now you know that a UX Designer essentially has to wear multiple hats in the Design process however, in large organizations a team of designers are hired to complete a specific part of the process.

UX Designers must include number of factors while designing the product. For Example productivity, durability, reliability, look & feel, environmental impact, ease of use, learnability, privacy, customization or personalization and so on.

6 Major Responsibilities of a UX Designer

Good Research is the Foundation of Good Design. Good research in the early stages of the design process infact save your time and money.

  • UX Designer has to study the market and research the Competition. Moreover, A Good Market Research includes Researching the Direct Competitors, who are offering similar Value Propositions.
  • Study Indirect Competitors, whose Primary Product doesn’t exactly offer the same Value Proposition but Secondary Product does.
  • User Research helps UX Designers to learn about user behavior, goals, motivations, and needs which helps to identify opportunities for the product in a given area.

Moreover, data collected is in the form of quantitative and qualitative data which is synthesized to get Insights.

2. User Personas

Based on the product research results, UX designer create representative personas.

Creating User Personas has become a standard Practice in Designing Products and Services. They doesn’t describe real people and created by collecting & Collating data from key audience segment.

Since 90’s, user persona has become the most important design strategies in the user-centered design process. Creating User Personas helps UX Designers to identify what the user requirements are.

UX Designers has to tie up the personas with a user scenario. A User scenario is a situation which describes, in a given context, how a persona would interact with the product to achieve its goal.

3. Information Architecture (IA)

UX Designer has to design IA- Information Architecture. Information Architecture focuses on structuring, organizing and labeling content in a way that user is able to find information easily, and able to complete tasks.

4. Creating Wireframes

Wireframe is a low fidelity representation of a design. UX Designer has to create Wireframe in order to represent each screen or step that a user might take while interacting with a product.

A Wireframe is simply an outline of your App or a website or a product which is most useful in the beginning of Product Development. A Wireframe is a Low Fidelity, static representation of different layouts of your product.

It helps UX designers to Define –

1. Information hierarchy

Defines the Placement and prioritization of information for a smooth User Understanding.

2. Navigational Layout

Navigational Layout defines all this information which will be put together so that User can move freely without any issue and perform actions.

3. Interface Design

Arranging various interface elements like buttons, check boxes, drop downs etc so that user Interaction is efficient and user friendly.

4. Architectural Design

Wireframe allows Designers to logically organize and structure the Visual, interface and navigational elements to ensure a smooth User Experience.

5. Prototyping

Jumping onto building a Product directly from the Ideas is a Bad Strategy. Product Development is a long and expensive process. Spending months and months on engineering something that no one wants, and gets little or no traction will only lead to Frustration and wastage of Time, money and resources.

Building Prototypes are a way to resolve the uncertainties around the Ideas.Ultimate Goal of a Prototype is to Help UX Designers to make the Decision. Moreover, a UX designer might ever have to build and Discard multiple prototypes until they Form the Decision of moving ahead with the Final Design.

6. User Testing

User testing is part of a user-centered design process which allows UX designer to validate the prototype and what worked and what didn’t and then iterate.

Further more, UX Designer has to implore and ask ‘why’ the user like or not like the solution. Testing with Users allows you explore the user concerns which will help in correcting usability issues.

User experience UX is a multidimensional concept. In fact, commonly accepted definition of UX is still lacking. Nevertheless, the concept of user experience goes beyond the task-oriented approach and includes all aspects such as beauty, fun, pleasure and so on ,that not only satisfies human needs but also provide some instrumental value.

Having said that, the goal of a User experience (UX) is to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty by providing ease of use as well pleasure while the User Interact with the product.

And the responsibility lays on UX Designer to provide such elements in the Product design.

Last but not the least, it is also important to remember that good usability does not mean good UX. However, it depends on the total interactive experience of a user with a product

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