What is UX Design?
UX = User Experience
Let's first define it broadly with generic terms:
"User Experience is an encompassing summation of an individual’s sensory driven interaction with a particular company, person, event and/or other elements."
This definition sounds a little... well confusing, so let's break it down.
- An Individual is a human. Let's use you for example.
- Reading this very sentence is an 'experience'.
- You're most likely using your senses of sight and touch.
- Other Humans(i.e. Me) want you to achieve a goal.
- These other forces want to incentivize you to the goal.
- So keep scrolling and reading to Learn More.
"User Experience Design" is not widely understood.
Let's break out a chunk of this list and talk about 'experiences'; specifically what are they? So... driving your car is a user experience. Going to McDonalds for lunch is a user experience. Even taking a flight is a user experience. We could delve into many different user experiences in the physical world, but for the purposes of this article we will be specifically focusing on modern Web and Mobile Applications that live inside our computers, tablets, phones, televisions, screens, etc.
So we have humans sensing and interacting with glass rectangles, being asked to achieve a goal by other humans. Of course by glass rectangles I'm referring to the aforementioned myriad of technology products that we use more and more everyday in our quest to achieve permanent connectivity, meaningful interactions and the general absorbance of data.
Up to this point we have solely been talking about 'User Experiences'. By adding that last word 'Design' to the mix, we are acknowledging that this human-centric endeavor has been planned as a means to an end. Well.. no duh. It's no surprise that humans built it. But we need to pay special attention to 'how' they built it... and more importantly 'who' they built it for. Great experiences are crafted to their users' needs. This all comes down to understanding your audience.
It sounds simple enough, but you would be surprised how difficult we have made it on ourselves in some cases (i.e. ATM screens, paying your Cable bill online, government websites, etc.)
User Experience Design includes the following fields:
- Visual Designer
- Web Designer
- Project Managers
- Content Strategists
- User Interface Designer
- Information Architect (IA)
- Interaction Designer (IxD)
- Usability Testers
Empathy drives a delightful User Experience.
Remember when you're mother told you to imagine taking a walk in someone else's shoes. Well, as always she was right! As technology evolves so does our understanding and approach to designing systems that more seamlessly integrate with our human needs and desires. This human to computer interaction describes a large chunk of the goals of User Experience Design.
What's it all mean?
User Experience Design is an emerging field in recent years, and the rules are still being established as technologies continually advance. One thing is certain at this point, the User Experience Design field is growing rapidly. As technology continues to permeate across industries, it does so by solving questions with previously unfathomable answers. Similarly, UXD seeks to merge multiple careers and expertise sets into a seamless agent of collaboration between humans and technology.