UX, UI, IA and IxD defined and explained

There was a time in the IT world when you talked about the ‘design’, it was automatically connected and understood as the graphic design. Times have changed so drastically that a lot of new dimensions have been opened and a number of new concepts have appeared.

These new concepts not only created a lot of confusion for outside people but also for those who had just stepped into the designing industry. Let us take you through some of the newest terms in the industry that you may not have heard earlier or aren’t fully aware of what they are all about.

These terms are

  • . UX design
  • . UI design
  • . Interaction design
  • . Information Architecture

This article will help you understand what they mean and what their primary functions are.

UX Design (User Experience Design)

According to Wikipedia ““User experience design (UXD, UED or XD) is the process of enhancing user satisfaction by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction between the user and the product. User experience design encompasses traditional human-computer interaction (HCI) design, and extends it by addressing all aspects of a product or service as perceived by users.”

Who is UX designer?

UX designer is the one who creates the products “logic” through wireframes and prototypes through software mediums such as Mockplus, Axure and JustInMind etc. One crucial skill found in the UX designers is the communication.

Their other responsibilities of UX designer include conducting research, competitive analysis and A/B testing once the project is launched. The main focus of the UX designers is on how the product feels to the end users.

For instance, if the app or website doesn’t fall on the expectations of the end users, then they are definitely going to jump on to someone else’s website or app and the project may be considered as a failure.

On the other hand, if the users feel comfortable and their experience is good then they are going to refer the site or app to their friends and are definitely going to use the site and app again.

What tools are used by UX designers?

Fireworks, UXPin, Sketch, Axure, Mockplus.

Functions

Storyboards, Sitemap, Written specifications, Wireframes and Prototypes.

UI Design (User Interface Design)

It is defined as the designing of user interfaces for software and machine like mobile devices, computers, electronic devices and home appliances etc. Its main purpose is to focus on how the user experience can be maximized.

The foremost objective of user interface design is the making of an efficient and simple interaction for the user. It allows the accomplishment of end-user goals which can also mean it is user-centric design. A well-designed user interface can turn out to be a productivity enhancer and surely can bring contentment for the users.

It is the platform for communication between the machines and the user and it is normally categorized into two platforms i.e. feeling and emotion. Simply put, user interface design is mainly there to accomplish an easy to use and pleasurable user-centric design.

According to Jesse James Garett, author and founder of Adaptive Path — a consultancy for user experience, “user interface design is simple and perfect selection interface elements. These elements include text, buttons, text fields, color-coded lists and more. The goal is to arrange all these elements in front of the user on the screen so that the user can easily perform and understand them.

The main purpose is to make the interaction of the user as efficient as possible.

Role of UI designer

. The role of the UI designer is not an easy one. The designer has to deal with a number of things at a time that includes an interface, user and the relationship between the two. Simply put, the duties of the UI designer include coming up with an easy to use product that fulfills the demands of the user and also making of a pleasurable interface.

. The designer needs to come up with a plan for these various things like product style, interaction design, interface structure and operation process that depend on the product complexities and type.

. The designing of the project in interactive interface, buttons, icons, logo and other important elements is the responsibility of the UI designer.

. Making the operations user-friendly and optimizing the webpage are included in the duties of the UI professional.

IA or Information Architecture

As the term suggests, Information architecture is the process by which an app/website is structured and the way the content is organized. The main purpose of it is to assist users to search for the useful information and accomplishment of tasks. As explained on uxbooth.com “Information architecture is the creation of a structure for a website, application, or another project, that allows us to understand where we are as users, and where the information we want is in relation to our position.

Information architecture results in the creation of site maps, hierarchies, categorizations, navigation, and metadata. When a content strategist begins separating content and dividing it into categories, she is practicing information architecture. When a designer sketches a top-level menu to help users understand where they are on a site, he is also practicing information architecture”.

Demands and qualifications from IA

. Should have experience in documenting intricate things like mobile apps, products, websites and system services.

. Detailed documentation and the capability to catch the inconsistencies, cracks and other disturbing things.

. The IA professional needs to be expert in Axure, Keynote, Visio and Omnigraffle and other programs that are related to IA.

. Should be able to analyze the assets and information so that the IA approach can be optimally assessed.

. The IA specialist should have strong communication skills and should be able to effectively present anything in front of the client or any other.

. Should have strong analytical skills, must be creative and curious. Must be innovative with the ability to come up with something from people and ideas.

. Confident, motivated and determined.

Interaction Design or IxD

According to ixda.com, the definition of Interaction Design is “anything that defines the behavior and structure of interactive systems. Interaction Designers strive to create meaningful relationships between people and the products and services that they use, from computers to mobile devices to appliances and beyond. Our practices are evolving with the world.”

Interaction designers are the people that are responsible for the moving elements and interactions of the websites and apps.

Interaction designer role

An interaction designer should be able to tackle intricate tasks and convert them into an easy to use and accessible design that is accepted gleefully by millions of users all over the globe, these users may range from people who interact for the first time to those who are sophisticated experts.

For the accomplishment of this task, the Interaction Designer has to collaborate with designers, engineers, researchers, and product managers. This collaboration can go on throughout the phase of designing from the creation of user flows and wireframes to the creation of prototypes and user interface mockups.

During every stage, the interaction designer will foresee what the end users expect and after going through their expectation and needs will make sure that the final product is such that it gives a pleasant surprise to the users.

Conclusion

Wrapping up the whole discussion, we would like you to know that UX design is all about the experience of the user and a user feels about the design. UI designing is based on what, where and how the involved elements perform on the website/app. Information Architecture is all about the organization of the website/app and lastly, interaction design shows the relation between the app and the user and how they react to each other.

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