What is UX design?

This article is all about UX design. In this article, you will know the 3 Factors in a UX Design. Also, the Core of a UX Design you'll know about the user, companies, and organization that make the mistake of thinking from the business perspective first. Then, you'll know The UX Process Look Like. Lastly, The Four BASIC Key Steps and What is UX Designer doing?

What Is UX Design?

UX design is a misunderstood field. There is a great image online depicting the experience of eating cereal. 

As you can see, the image shows the product, an interface and the user experience. The whole experience of actually eating a bowl of breakfast cereal is what the user wants to do. There are lots of factors that affect the experience like the crunch of the cereal, the bowl’s size, the spoon, and if it holds enough stuff, that's the user experience. 

The other things that we can design make that experience better for the user. The critical thing to know here is that the experience exists already for the user, and our job as UX designers is to make that experience better. 

Many people confuse UX design as designing what the user's experience should be; that’s not what UX design is. There's already an experience there, and we can look at the behavior and the patterns and the habits of people to make their experience better. 

Factors Involved in UX Design

There are many factors involved with UX design but the three most important ones are that we are designing something that needs to be useful, it needs to be usable, and it needs to be desirable. If we nail all of those three things, then we've designed an excellent user experience. 

An example that I've brought to show you is these two coffee cups.

They're both designed to fulfill a purpose: putting coffee in them and drinking them, but one has good UX design, and one has bad UX design. 

Think about usefulness, usability, and desirability. We can analyze these things in these two cups, so Cup a, it's useful, I can put coffee in here it's a vessel it will hold the coffee. Cup b, coffee will go inside, but if we look at Cup a and think about usability. I've got a double layer of glass with air in between, so it's insulating my hand from the coffee so my hand stays cool if the coffee stays hot, that's usable it's super easy to use. 

Cup b on the other hands when I'm holding it's kind of actually a little bit difficult to control by this tiny handle, as I can get two fingers in there, but then it's not that easy to hold, and then maybe I'll have it like this because that's an easy out. Still, now my hand gets burned and hot from the coffee. 

Cup b is not so usable, and then if we think desirability if I see these two products, on a supermarket shelf or in someone else's home, which one do, I guess I'm going to be more attracted to and say oh I think I want to buy that one. If we think about usefulness, usability, and desirability, Cup a nail all three, and Cup b is good for is the functionality of holding coffee, and it's not that great to use. 

Look at all the products around you in the world, and think about usefulness, usability, and desirability and see which ones have great UX. 

The Core of UX Design

At the core of user experience design before you get to methods, tools, and processes is the user. The first thing you need to know is that it's about the user, a lot of companies and organizations make the mistake of thinking from the business perspective first. 

It probably happened with the designer of the cup thinking okay, and we need to make a small white cup that fits with another dinner set. It has to work on the saucer, and it has to have this kind of brand and style, and they weren't thinking of how the user was going to experience their product. 

Rather than thinking about what you want to design, think about making the user’s experience better. 

Examples of Bad UX Design

If you search for bad UX design, you will find a flood of articles and posts. This illustrates the real cost and impacts it can have on organizations that don't think about the user's experience. 

First, Companies are losing lots and lots of money because of projects where they started from the business side and didn't know about users. 

A great example where a nuclear power plant had a meltdown because of a tiny part of their interface that could have been made a lot easier to use. 

It all came down to a light on a control panel, and the morning showed that something was off, and when the light was out, it showed that something was on, and it was just really poorly designed. 

The designers themselves probably thought it was apparent, but they didn't consider the people using that and their experience. Even something minimal about how you do not understand what the user is experiencing can have a massive impact on the whole product you're trying to create. 

What Does The UX Process Look Like

So now we've seen the massive picture of what UX design is. 

Let's look a bit more detailed at what the process is and what steps you take. If you look up UX design the process, you'll see some diagrams that look something like this. 

They always have this kind of step, understanding doing user research to understand more what the patterns and behaviors and needs of users are. 

Sketching or ID aiding designing more testing and validating and then actually implementing building a product. You'll see lots and lots of similar types of diagrams, but the critical thing to note here is that even though a lot of these diagrams are linear one step after the other, that's not actually how UX design happens. 

Might not start with doing a ton of user research, the project or the thing that you end up working on, might begin with a product that already exists. You need to tweak it or iterate it a little bit or already have a lot of information about how users are using your product. You might find that you're starting from testing something and then going back into iterating designs. 

Rather than this linear process, you'll also see many diagrams that are breaking away from that linear flow and making more kind of circular diagram showing all the facets and all the different methods you can use. You might use them in lots of other orders. 

Also, some patterns show that you actually can move around and jump back and forth between each one.

The Four BASIC Key Steps

What they all have in common is four necessary key steps: understanding, ideating testing, and crafting. There's no particular order that those can go in, but those are the foundational UX design elements.

What is UX Designer doing?

Maybe you're wondering what a UX designer is doing every day in his/her job. In the UX design field, and you might find yourself doing a lot of different types of things. 

You might be creating wireframes to mock-up how a user experience looks in a web interface or a mobile app or something digital. Wireframes can look like this.

As a UX designer, sometimes you are sketching out how something would explain the workflow of a user. You might be mocking things that should be on the screen and things that they should click on to make it simple and easy for them to know what to do at each step. 

You might find yourself doing in-depth user research where you are actually observing users in a virtual environment ethnographic research where you go in and immerse yourself in the field. 

You might find yourself working a lot with developers and technical people and acting as a translator, helping to craft that experience knowing what the user’s perspective is and what their needs are and what the technology can do. 

Another common thing for UX designers is to do testing. Once you've got some ideas or concepts, create, putting them in the hands of people and seeing how they react and how they respond and asking them questions to try and validate your ideas and check that they're going to work before you go into a long process of designing them. 

There are two more things that you probably wouldn't guess would be a big part of being a UX designer, and these are some things that people don't know about before they get into the field, and then they're surprised when it's a big part of their job. 

The first one is presenting and documenting and pitching and showcasing your work. That might be because you've just done a lot of user research, and you need to give to management or the design team what your findings are and what direction you think the design should go in. It might be concepts that you've created, and you need to present and show them to people or other teams.So taking the work you've done and presenting and showing your ideas to other people in a way understandable is a massive part of being a UX designer. 

Lastly, being able to facilitate groups of people and run workshops to help others come together and collaborate and co-create and come to conclusions together is misunderstood and not seen as a big part of UX design. 

So hopefully that's given you a good overview of what UX design is. 

I've given you examples of good UX and bad UX with the coffee cups the impact that bad UX design can have on organizations like the nuclear power plant example and some examples of what a UX designer does every day.


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