What is UX Design?

User Experience Design (UX design) is no piece of cake. It’s an art, overlooked by many and appreciated by few. Usually, when well-executed, nobody genuinely notices; the non-complaining silence of the crowd is the sound of success. But mark my words, if your design is less than amazing, prepare to hear the masses clamor for your head on a platter. Or they’ll just give you lousy reviews to ensure that nobody else will make their mistake of giving your product a try.

Such is the ruthless world of UX. And it still goes largely taken for granted.

But what is UX design?

Don Norman has a fabulous description:

Don Norman: The term “UX”

Per Axbom, a professional UX designer and personal coach, says a similar thing in a visual on Twitter.

UX according to Per Axbom

So, as Norman said above, UX is everything. UX isn’t just the interface on a website or an app. It’s the entire experience of finding the product, deciding to use it, buying it, bringing it home, setting it up, etc… Using it is only one more step of UX, not necessarily any more important than the process of finding it.

And UX doesn’t only have to be proximate to the product itself. UX is an entire system, beginning when you research the product, extending through product reviews, telling your friends about your experience, and even how that product influences your interactions with the world around you.

Axbom’s definition is complementary to Norman’s as he extends this concept of UX to include the development process, and the use of human psychology to develop more appealing, efficient products.

According to Rogers, et al. in Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction, “one main aim of [UX] is to reduce the negative aspects (e.g. frustration, annoyance) of the user experience and to enhance the positive ones (e.g. enjoyment, engagement). In essence, it is about developing interactive products that are easy, effective, and pleasurable to use — from the users’ perspective.”

In this blog series, I want to look at UX design, and the psychology ‘embedded’ within its various philosophies and principles. UX is built upon a veritable ecosystem of processes and experiences, essentially beginning with development, and hopefully continuing throughout the lifespan of users.

I will visit some of the psychological concepts that UX designers must work to in order to create effective products from a user perspective. In my first post, I will visit the Gulfs of Execution and Evaluation, and discuss my own recent experiences with these. Then, I will talk about marginal design and over-design, complemented with spacing (basically, too busy, and too boring). Next, I’ll move on to constraints, and close with a look at UX innovation drivers.

Hopefully, this blog’s dive into the world of UX will be a positive sort of user experience for us both, reader, and that it will spark a deeper learning and understanding of the potential provided by UX opportunities today.

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