UX Design: Then, and now.
What is User Experience Design exactly and why do we now use the term, “UX”? I remember attending Graphic Design courses during the late 90’s -early 2000, learning everything Graphic Design: color theory, editorial design, websites, animation, typography, advertising, ect. There was never a specific design role called, UX Designer, or course called, UX Design. This term defined itself over the years, and is now the raging buzz word that seems to attract employers to designers with a title of UX on the resume.
“I think we can all agree that website design has changed quite a bit over the past two decades. Since that first website was built in 1991, website design has become an important part of every marketing plan”- RocketPop Media.
When I was asked to design my first website by a client, there was not a formal design process or ritual I went through to design simple wireframes. I would create some sketches, design a simple flow in Illustrator, and mock up some comps in Photoshop to share with the client or Creative Director for feedback and approval. It seemed to be much simpler then, but obviously, I was missing more!
When I was designing websites 15 years ago as a ‘web designer’, the user wasn’t so much the center of the experience, the client was the center of the experience. ‘Empathy’ was a term back then that was associated with psychologists, not designers. There is now an entire Design process to follow which is protocol as a UX Designer and centered around ‘user empathy’ –customer interviews, competitive analysis, heuristic analysis, journey maps, personas, user stories, empathy maps, wireframes, responsive design, mobile app design, prototyping, and usability testing, are all now standard knowledge in today’s UX Design world of use experience design. Quite a huge change since the days of Photoshop 4.0, and the floppy disc. Sketch 3 is now the big tool to use with User Experience Designers, and has exponentially gained popularity since just two years ago.
So, as I learn how to evolve from a web designer into a proper UX Designer, I now get to take what I’ve learned 15 years ago and transfer that knowledge to today’s design world to round out my design skills. I’m excited to finally catch up in today’s world of product design to have evolved from the ‘then’ web-designer to the ‘now’, soon-to-be certified, UX Designer. “One factor has remained consistent throughout the development of UX design — the importance of content. Designers have constantly been considering effective ways to bring relevant content to the user in the most efficient way possible. Concepts of usability, simplicity, accessibility, human interaction and flexibility have defined this era of UX design. Seeing how web design has evolved thus far, it’s exciting to think about where it will be in the next 20 years.”- Julie Ralston