What is user experience design?
User experience design is not a niche anymore. Itâs easier to find an internet company without the SEO guy than without a UX designer on board. According to LinkedIn there are more than 800,000 people somehow connected to UX design and almost 2,000 open job positions as of September, 2012. There are conferences for thousands of people, great books, magazines, webinars, courses… but still, I doubt if the understanding of UX design is very common nor well spread.
This is what usually happens to words that become hype. Everyone talks about a term, believing itâs self explanatory, and in no time it loses its meaning. I assume youâre an entrepreneur. Most probably youâre super busy making your dreams come true. You want to get the job done. You want results. Letâs focus then on clearing the air around the definition of user experience design. Itâs really important that you understand the nature of UX Design, which unfortunately gets easily confused with visual design, usability, wire framing and a bunch of other stuff.
User experience design (abbreviation UX, UXD) â A discipline focused on designing the end-to end experience of a certain product. To design an experience means to plan and act upon a certain set of actions, which should result in a planned change in the behavior of a target group (when interacting with a 20 product).
A UX designerâs work should always be derived from peopleâs problems and aim at finding a pleasurable, seductive, inspiring solution. The results of that work should always be measurable through metrics describing user behavior. UX designers use knowledge and methods that originate from psychology, anthropology, sociology, computer science, graphic design, industrial design and cognitive science.
When youâre designing an experience, you are in fact planning a change in the behavior of your target group. You’ve found out their problem and youâre trying to destroy the burden using design methods.
User experience lies at the crossroads of art and science and requires both extremely acute analytical thinking and creativity.
Letâs consider an example: weâre about to create a door handle. As a usability specialist your task will be to make sure that the person faced with the need to open doors will be able to perform the task using your newly designed door handle. You conduct a series of user tests and iterate on the best solution. As a UX designer youâre not only interested in a usable door handle. You want to create something that will encourage people to open doors and will provide a unique experience. You want people to open doors twice as enthusiastically as before. Again, youâll iterate on the best solution, but the approach will be broader and the measured result should focus on the userâs behavior.
User experience design at its heart is an optimization: an iteratively improved solution to a general problem. UX is the air successful start-ups breathe.