An overview of the field of UX Design: and why I chose to break in.
“For the purposes of Designlab courses, User Experience (UX) can be considered the entirety of a user’s digital experience surrounding a product, as well as the sum total of the choices that led there.” — Designlab
I was trained as an architect and my perspective of user experience was limited to the built environment. That is, I knew that I was to design a space within a given set of parameters and that the end result would and should affect someone’s experience. When I started to run and operate the businesses I built, I came to realize that that someone’s experience was not just confined to the physical environment. I didn’t know what the field was, but I was sure that the effect of these other things was powerful.
After endless hours of research and coffee dates with industry professionals, it turns out that the design of this environment that reaches past the physical space is considered UX Design, “the entirety of a user’s digital experience surrounding a product, as well as the sum total of the choices that led there.” (DesignLab)
The field is growing. And it is growing quickly. This is only to be expected in the tech heavy society that we find ourselves in. But why is it relevant?
Architectural design is a tool that will shape someone’s experience. But I believe UX design has gone a step farther. It is not only a tool that can be used to make a change in someone’s experience, but to have that someone’s experience make a change in society.
Take a look at Shinichi Takemura‘s Tangible Earth. It is a hemisphere of plexiglass that has a computer projection from the inside. It gives the effect of a realistic earth that is interactive to the touch. The ability to think of this new way to display information and then to fabricate a product that displays it has the potential to open the eyes of everyone from world leaders to young kids.
But that’s the big stuff. The remarkable thing about UX design is that it is scalable. The simplest of projects and the simplest of solutions can often times have the most impact someone’s experience. And this is why I broke in.