UX Design 100 – What is User Experience Design?

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If you are big on tech or at least have your ears peeled for the latest developments in the world of technology, then by now you must have heard about UX design.

This phenomenon is gradually shaping the new world of innovation – but it isn’t exactly new.

Don’t know anything about UX Design or its potential?

Then you are in the right place. Let’s dive straight in!

What exactly is UX Design?

ux design process

Image Credits: Interaction-Design

UX Design is the short form for ‘User Experience Design’, and it is seen as the process of increasing the satisfaction of a user by developing or enhancing the usability, ease of access and pleasure that is gotten from interacting with a product.

Now, of course, his product would have to be technology related, but the key here is that UX Design can actually reinvent the way a new product is introduced to the market, and can be the deciding factor with whether the public grows to love a product or just discards it.

UX professionals would usually define its design as the immediate experience that a consumer feels when they are interacting with the product for the first time. It is also the shaping of what a product is entirely going to be in the eyes of the public.

You should in no way mistake UX and UI Design. While they are similar, they are very different. In this article, we would be looking at how these two concepts are different.

The difference between UX and UI Design

ux vs ui design

Image Credits: Papdan.com

If you take a stroll in one of the streets in Silicon Valley, you are sure to hear conversations about how the UI or UX of a product have made or marred it’s unveil. If you do not know the difference, it would be very easy to mistake one for the other.

Even though they have different acronyms, User Interface design is also very crucial to a product and how it works. UX design is usually more analytical and technical, UI, on the other hand, is very close to what you would refer to as graphic design with more complex responsibilities.

The best way to understand this would be with the use of an analogy. Take for example the human body; the bones would represent codes giving it structure, UX, in this case, would be the organs that help to optimize for supporting life functions while UI design would be the cosmetics of the body.

When it comes to UX design, it is all about putting the human first. It is very likely that you have seen job postings where people would require the services of a “UX/UI designer”, but in the real sense of things, this refers to two very different professionals.

The UX designer tends to be more analytical and technical in his approach to developing a product while the UI designer basically pays most of his attention to look and design.

Now, this leads to the other question. Is one of these fields more important than the other? The answer is – not really. Both of them are very crucial to the process of designing a new product offering.

How UX design would change the world

importance of UX

Interaction is everything in the world of products today. The everyday device today is just a screen. This goes to explain that people are all about what they can see and how it communicates with them and helps to solve daily activities. No matter the work that you do as an individual, the ability of your device to be able to interact with you and do what you want.

No matter the work that you do as an individual, the ability of your device to be able to interact with you and do what you want.

We are a fast-paced world today, and people love the ability to handle multiple things at once. There are some consequences of this technology though.

Being the fact that people no longer see the need to communicate with fellow individuals and everything is becoming more dependent on technology. From the vibrations your phones make to the tactile feedback your devices give back.

A day in the life of a UX Designer

If you are thinking of a career in UX design, then it isn’t a bad career at all. What is the typical day of a UX designer?

First of all, you would be on a project to design an application for an up and coming e-commerce site (or something of the sort). Your day would typically start with reading emails and articles, trying to stay abreast of everything happening in the industry.

You would then have to do a recap with the team in charge of developing the product and developing upon the trends on usability. You may then have a meeting with some other product designers to discuss on new ideas and tools. You would then delve into working on your product proper with respect to some crazy deadline.

When the evening comes, you grab a beer and thank God it’s Friday!

What qualities do you need as a UX Designer?

ux designer vs graphics designer

Image Credits: Interaction-Design

Now, this is a tricky one, because one of your key distinctions as a UX designer would be how you bring your personality to understanding what exactly the client wants from you. However, there are some traits that you should definitely have as a UX designer.

  1. Empathy: As a UX designer, empathy is very key. You need to be able to understand why people actually do behave in the way and manner that they do. One of the key ways to develop this is by practicing how to put yourself in other people’s shoes.
    When you put empathy into your product designs, it would enable you to develop products that actually would help the user out. This is a great skill that not many people have.
  2. Curiosity: A big appetite for wanting to know ‘why’ is very key as a UX designer. You need to want to understand people and why they behave in the manner that they do. You should be curious to find out how to make people’s lives better. You should also thirst for knowledge on how to truly stay on top of technology and its constantly changing atmosphere. What is the point of being a UX designer if you can’t offer your clients new trends and help them beat the competition?
  3. Clarity of expression: One of the most essential skills that you would need as a UX designer is the ability to express yourself and your ideas very clearly. In some cases, you would also need to be able to express your processes very clearly.
    If you are not good at explaining your work, or if you are even termed ineffective at this, people would not be able to clearly understand your product. You should therefore be able to make yourself and your ideas easily understood by everyone (at least when you want to be). A great way to develop this skill if you aren’t exactly like this naturally is to write some blog posts about things that you have learned. Even if you don’t have a big followership, the mere fact that you are explaining your opinions to people would enable you better convey messages.

What are the tools that are required for UX Design?

They say a warrior is only as good as his weapon, and this is the truth! You cant go into a shootout with a pistol when your opponent has a sub-machine gun. Your tools as a UX designer should be able to help you properly explain yourself to your consumers.

Thankfully, there are a lot of tools and software on the market today that will help you with the basics of designing. Your basic functions as a designer include designing, prototyping, wireframing and lots more. The industry standard tools that you would use for performing these would include:

  • Photoshop: Everyone has photoshop these days. The software is fantastic for developing an on-screen interface design.
  • Sketch: This is another powerful tool that is very similar to photoshop. However, unlike photoshop, it is more geared to UX design.
  • Illustrator: The illustrator is another graphic design software that is very useful to a UX designer. It is very handy for developing logos and other icons.
  • UX Pin: This software comes with a lot of functions and it also gives you the ability to create prototypes that are responsive and clickable.
  • Wireframe: This comes with the ability to incorporate skill and speed into your work. Definitely one of the best tools that you can have as a UX designer.

Steps to take in Becoming a UX Designer

If you want to become a UX Designer, here are some steps to ensure that you are the best at what you do:

  • Get used to the principles: Just like law or medicine, this career has a lot of underlying principles that govern how you can be the best. If you pay attention to these principles, then it is certain you would be the best at what you do.
    They include your ability to play with colour; knowing how it works on the human mind, balance; always remember that there is too much or too little, contrast; you should be able to use contrast in organizing your information and creating focus, typography; remembering that your fonts and text style truly matters, consistency; you should be able to create intuitive designs time after time and not just be a one-hit wonder.
  • Learn about the process: One discouraging thing about a lot of newbies in UX is that they want to be a professional from the first day. You should know that it takes a while to grow. It really isn’t about how you are using the most expensive software on the market. What matters is how well you are able to manipulate the tools you are given.
  • Develop your eye for design: No matter the functionality you cram into a product, one thing is, people are always excited by fancy looking products. This is one thing that you must never ever forget. You should have trained your eyes to be able to spot a good or bad design and identify how you can strengthen your design. Never refrain from seeking information. The best of the best today are simply thirsty to get inspired.
  • Read about designs as much as you can: With the way and manner that the world is evolving, it really is possible to get outdated in your designs. You should make it a habit to read through design articles as much as you can every day. Thanks to the internet, there are loads of materials that you can just pick up and read at any time. All you have to do is look for it!
    or you can just install Muzli Extension! Pro Tip…
  • Design a lot of fake projects: This is one thing that a lot of UX designers do not really know. Practice makes perfect, so you would never lose by spending your evening designing a random project that nobody would use instead of gaming away on your xbox.
    You don’t have to wait till some big client has contacted you. A lot of times, the great UX designers have admitted to going back to one of their fake projects when a client has just hired them for an innovative solution.
  • Learn about the latest tools on web design: There are a lot of tools out there that can literally make your life simpler. Don’t miss out on the chance to take advantage of these ones.
  • Select a mentor: In any discipline, it is always important to select your mentor. There is a certain strength that you would derive from knowing how a particular person went about his business and overcame the same troubles that you may be facing.

Conclusion

When you think about the potential for UX design, it is amazing how far we have come and where we are going to. With better UX designers emerging every day, there is definitely a bright future for the world of technology. People would be able to solve more problems and get more things done by simply using devices. Simple devices!

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