UX at a Glance
What exactly is user experience design? Our savvy UX/UI expert Lynn Vuong steps in to explain the basics.
A commonly misunderstood practice, even within the design world, user experience design (or UX) is defined as the process of enhancing user satisfaction by improving a site’s accessibility while leading the user through a journey of discovery.
Don Norman, accomplished computer science researcher and director of The Design Lab at UCSD, once stated that “the whole point of human-centered design is to tame complexity, to turn what would appear to be a complicated tool into one that fits the task, that is understandable, usable, and enjoyable.”
There are many steps that weave together an “understandable, usable, and enjoyable” experience. This weave or system of layers works in tandem to make the experience exciting for the user. For example, think of it as wearing a new pair of glasses. You have to consider what the user will want to see and design accordingly.
A UX designer first seeks to understand the audience and pinpoint the most realistic interaction with the product or brand. They script what the user is met with upon landing on the site, the path in between, and the final decision that prompts the user to take action.
UX design goes beyond just building a website; it builds an entire experience through the guidance of research and trial-and-error. Through analyzing what is working and what is not working, a designer can craft the best strategy to improve. We start to ask what we want from the site, but also what the user will want from the site, and formulate a way to meet in the middle. By researching competitors, conducting interviews and field studies, and trying to understand how a user actually interacts with the product, a UX designer will be armed with the knowledge necessary to conceive a responsive, efficient, and highly engaging design. The next step is crafting user personas, which aids in the development of organizing the content and building a preliminary site map. The UX designer can then begin wire-framing and prototyping the interface.
At this point, there has been very little of what most people would think of as “design.” We haven’t added color or typography, merely numbers and facts; however, if these critical steps are neglected, the user will likely feel dissatisfied.
Not only does UX design reinforce a site’s purpose, branding, and messaging, but it enriches a user’s experience and directly influences that user’s perspective of the brand.