What is UX Design?

Ux design is the set of skills to help develop a successful new product or improve an existing one.

It's tough to use a single definition to describe this field of the design industry, but I can easily break it down as follow:


  • UX is the art and science of solving problems through empathy.

  • The practice of meeting user's needs with the business goals.

  • Often gets confused with the traditional definition of graphic design.

  • It's really about functionality and the process behind making a product that works well for the people who use them.

  • User experience design aims to enable users to achieve their goals and run through the tasks quickly and joyfully.


Why is the User Experience Important?


In the age of information and the fast-paced world we live today, it is important to make technology more human and easy to use.

Also, companies hire UX designers to help them achieve success by designing a product or service that the user needs and wants to use.


To design and build such products, you have to follow the hierarchy of user's needs.


It has to be functional first.

It also has to be reliable.

Now you have a product that works!

Next, it has to be super easy to use.

And at the very end of user needs, it has to be pleasurable.


UX vs. UI. What is the Difference?


One easy way to explain is the car example.

We have a car interface like a steering wheel, the dashboard, display, interior design, colors, etc.

On the other hand, we have experience driving the car, which is all about how it feels, is it easy to operate, is it comfortable, is it fast enough, the fuel economy, is it safe, and much more.


These two things are not the same.

Let's break it down.


UX is all about solving a problem and creating painless interactions and experiences with the service or product. It's how it works and what users feel.


UI is the esthetic and visual part of the product. A specific asset that organizes layout and defines how everything looks.


Also, the difference is in the process and tools need it to get the job done.


In UX design, you can expect to do research, analysis, strategy, workshops, information architecture, brainstorming, prototyping, user testing, and much more.


On the other hand, UI designer cares about the brand, typography, colors, icons, images, layout, etc.

UX vs UI example with the car interface and experience of driving the car

UX Design Process


In every design, there is a process. Many experts describe it in a very linear approach, but the reality is different. It is very dynamic and iterative, with many fails and learning.



Research

The primary skill that UX designer must have is empathy, listening and examining of users behavior. I would say understanding human psychology is crucial as well.


With that in mind, you will want to do a lot of research based on interviews and usability test techniques. You want to empathize with the user by asking questions and observing while they use the product.



Data

The second most important skill is to read and understand the data. Collecting and analyzing data should be part of the rituals of every UX process. Data can tell you how many users are doing something, and you can make good decisions relying on it.



Workshops and Collaboration

It's good for every designer to organize collaborative workshop sessions with internal stakeholders and external users. Those workshops are vital to creating empathy maps, user persona, user journey mapping, and strategy. But also, they are precious to innovate through collaborative play.



Information Architecture (IA)

Information architecture is about helping people understand their surroundings and find what they're looking for, where they expected it to be. It's on the websites we use, the apps and software we download, and even the physical places we spend time in. Good organized and intuitive navigation is an example of excellent IA work.

Information architecture is a backbone of the design structure that you can translate into wireframes of the project.


IA is the foundation of UX and one of the many requirements that designers must respect.



Prototyping

Sketching wireframing and prototyping skills are essentials to quickly visualize and test all assumptions that the team can have and finally validate through the usability tests and research described above.


You don't need UI and Visual design skills to be a successful UX designer. Visuals are at the very end of the process after many iterations and tests before handing them over to the developers. In many bigger organizations, it's a different person who will care about visuals and UI delivery.



Measure

Once the product is live and ready to use, you want to test, measure and repeat. Don't be afraid to fail, but learn fast and do it again.

Diagram that explains UX design process

What Tools are Used by User Experience Designers?


Many tools exist to make a designer's life easier. Which one you will choose is a personal preference.


I will usually always start with the pen and paper, doodling and sketching all ideas, taking notes, and brainstorm. Even you can make a paper prototype.

You will almost always use many papers, sticky notes, and sharpies for workshops and collaborative work.


For the digital and remote environment, I typically use Miro, an online collaborative whiteboard.


To wireframe and prototype, there are many great tools, and again depends on your working environment, you can use software like Sketch, Figma, Invision, to name a few.

There are many great online tools for usability tests like usertesting.com, UserBob. Also, you might use HotJar or similar for session recordings and heatmaps, which are convenient tools to analyze user's behavior and interactions with your product.


How to Learn UX design?


The best way to learn UX design is by doing it. Start questioning every product you use, physical or digital. Ask your self is it easy to use and how you can improve it. Start observing people around you when interacting with the products and try to empathize.

Start sketching and wireframing ideas on the paper, test them with your friends and family. You can start using the Figma tool for digital wireframes and clickable prototypes for free. Many tutorials that you can find online will help you learn the basics. Every work you create, share and test with the others. In that way, you will learn to get feedback and iterate.


It's like learning to play an instrument. The more you practice better you become, and it's really about gaining experience through the work.


You can start with demo projects, like picking up any product you want to improve and build a case study.




I produced the UX design mastery crash course to help you kickstart your fundamental understanding and skills.


It's designed as a fast-paced, easy-to-understand short course with practical examples and workbooks that cover all the parts of the process described earlier.



👉 Enroll now on Udemy and kick start your UX!