5 UX Terms I Learnt in 2018

think, think, think…

During 2018, I have been struggling with building up my UX mindset and with improving my problem solving capabilities. On average, I read and digested 5 articles every week last year until right now. Those articles helped me to refresh, inspire, and restructure my design thinking process, and also to uncover much more possibilities than I thought before.

However, inputting numerous information does feel a bit overwhelming, so I would like to share with you what I have learnt and consolidate my own knowledge as well.

These 5 different UX related terms will also serve as an abstract retrospective for my UX learning journey in 2018.


What is empathy?

According to Wikipedia, empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another’s position. It’s not hard to hear Empathy when it comes to relationship maintenance in our daily life.

Why does empathy matter in terms of design?

Having empathy in mind helps all of us maintaining the relationships, also reminds designers caring user’s happy moments and pain points.

Regarding to applying empathy to design thinking, Empathy Map is a typical approach involved. On the one hand, applying empathy map allows designers themselves to understand users better. On the other hand, empathy map also helps a whole UX team on the same page including stakeholders, developers and other designers.

How to gain empathy?

Usually we’re able to truly feel other people’s emotional states either happiness or sadness only because we have similar experiences before. Then, how could we gain empathy when we have totally no similar experience with our target users?

Ideally we need some solid research findings to explore empathy map, but it’s not always possible or probably always not possible.

In my personal experience, when it comes to something I’ve never heard before, it’s really easy to skip or totally miss some critical factors which probably make a big influence on the design decision. A practical tip is “DO NOT skip through any potential steps unconsciously” and “Keep asking yourself what’s coming next”. That might sound like a bit too basic or useless. If you stick with it, a lot of common and critical mistakes are avoidable.

Relating readings:

Empathy Mapping: The First Step in Design Thinking

How to Run an Empathy & User Journey Mapping Workshop

Job Story➡️

That idea comes from Intercom and also baked by Alan Klement’s a super inspiring article

The original concept of Job Story is framing every design problem in a Job, focusing on the triggering event or situation, the motivation and goal, and the intended outcome:

When _____ , I want to _____ , so I can _____ .

For example: When an important new customer signs up, I want to be notified, so I can start a conversation with them.

Job story force us to provide real context or scenario and focus on motivations. Then we can know about what clients really need instead of just implementing what they think they need.


Gestalt theory is based on the following idea: when people perceive the complex objects consisting of many elements, they apply conscious or subconscious methods of arranging the parts into a whole organised system instead of just the set of simple objects.

A firm understanding of gestalt theory will equip UX designers with the necessary knowledge to create interactive prototypes and websites that are both visually pleasing and balanced. By analysing the space and positioning elements using the gestalt principles, designers will be able to design in a way that is effective and efficient.

Relating Readings:

Gestalt Theory for UX Design: Principle of Proximity

How to improve UX using gestalt principles

AARRR framework

AARRR stands for Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral and Revenue which served from understanding customers, their journeys and optimising the conversion funnels for startups.

A few questions quoted below to bring you a intuitive feeling of AARRR framework.


“Where Are Our Users / Customers Coming From?”


“How good is the user’s / customer’s first experience?”


“How many of your customers are you retaining and why are you losing the others?”


“How can you turn your customers into your advocates?”


“How can you increase revenue?”

Metaphors ✏️🗑️🔔

As you can see, designers are using a big amount of metaphors to make the product more relatable and intuitive, consciously or subconsciously. A common metaphor we’re designing with are icons which basically could be seen on every single app on your phone or laptop.

Relating Readings:

Making up metaphors

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Read more of my articles here:

Designing a responsive UI based on 8pt grid

A realistic documentation redesign process, part1

UX designer. Brisbane. https://chelseat.me/