It stands for User Experience,” is how I usually begin my little blurb as I get ready to explain the career I want to pursue. As a relatively new field, it is fairly common to come across people, specially those outside of the tech industry, who have no clue what the role entails.

In all honesty, it was not until a couple of months ago that I learned about the field of UX design and how I had been looking to go into this field without even knowing that it existed.

I wanted to be able to combine my creative skills with my research and analytical skills to create valuable and visually appealing content, and as I found out, UX design would allow me to do just that.

UX can be a bit hard to explain because it encompasses a wide range of disciplines. But in essence, UX is the intangible design of a strategy that brings us to a solution,” as explained in Erik Flowers’ blog post “UX is not UI.”

In his blog post, Flowers shares an image of the UX umbrella by Dan Willis which explains the many facets that UX encompasses.

UX Umbrella as illustrated by Dan Willis (@uxcrank) for hisDC Startup Weekend presentation in 2011

“So you’re saying you’ll be making apps and websites that look pretty, right?” Ehrm… kind of. There is so much more to that than just the aesthetics. Sure, UX does include visual and interaction design within its umbrella but if you look at the illustration above, there is also content strategy, user research, usability, and information architecture to consider when talking about UX.

UX is more than just making websites and apps look pretty; it deeply considers the connection that this website or app has with its user. How intuitive and easy is it for the user to navigate the app or website? What feelings does this interaction elicit on the user? Are there any further ways to enhance the user’s experience with the product? All of these and more questions are often in the minds of UX professionals to accomplish the goal of bringing delightful and appealing products and services to the user.

Weather app UI showing the finished product of UX design (image from UXD Mastery)

This strong focus on the user while still keeping the company’s mission statement and the product/service’s purpose in mind is something that is very appealing to me. As Robert Hoekman Jr. puts it in his “Thirteen Tenets of User Experience” article,

“User experience is strategic. It begins with an idea to improve the lives of users, and continues through every moment of the customer lifecycle, from attention to abandonment and beyond. It is driven by a vision that guides and justifies every design decision.”

By implementing various kinds of user-focused practices and extracting knowledge about the interaction between users and products/services, UX professionals are able to help deliver not only amazing products but also valuable and delightful experiences for the end user. UX as a profession is growing steadily and as an aspiring UX designer I want people to more accurately understand the importance of this profession and to think about all of the work put into their favorite product.

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