Intro to User Experience Design
Over the past few years, the field of User Experience Design has exploded in popularity. It’s a hot topic in the world today. But most people either don’t know what it is or don’t know where to look to learn more. This article is the first of a multi part series on an introduction to User Experience Design. In this series, we’ll give you an overview of what UX Design is, and how to go about improving your skills in this exciting field. We’ll also share great resources to read up more and dive deeper if you’d like. So let’s jump in!
What Is User Experience Design?
User Experience Design is the process of designing products, services or experiences for a set of Users. It’s goal is to understand and empathize with customers and deliver experiences that are memorable. Related terms like “User Centered Design” or “Human Centered Design” also come up. These refer to ways of designing made popular by companies like IDEO. At the core of this concept lies the simple fact that everything you build should be with the user in mind. This User Experience Design comprises of the following parts:
- Empathize / User Research
- Define / Problem Definition & User Journeys
- Ideate / Sketching & Wireframing
- Build / Prototyping
- Test / User Testing or Usability Testing
This series will take you through an overview of each of the above, along with where to start on each. We’ll give you handpicked tutorials, reads and examples of how you can become better with practice!
What does a UX Designer do?
Think about the last time you used something like TurboTax or Amazon. Products like these ideally make your life easier by letting you do complex tasks in new ways. There is a whole army of designers behind delivering that experience in an easy to use and enjoyable manner. And this is what lies at the heart of a UX Designer’s job. User Experience Designers are a relatively new function in the professional landscape. The field itself has been around for some time. But companies are just waking up to the fact that they need full time UX Designers on their payroll. UX Designers are integral members of the Product Design process. To this effect, some of the main activities of these individuals include:
User Research : identify and empathize with the core users for a product or a service. By understanding the needs of the users, UX Designers are able to uncover insights that were previously hidden. Bringing these to light allows the designed solution to meet user’s needs better. Research involves tools like surveys, in person interviews, guerrilla interviews and ethnographic interviews. We’ll dive deeper into Research in our next post in this series.
Design : create solutions based on the research and modern usability standards. Using a variety of tools, designers develop visual variants of their solutions. These can take a variety of forms like paper sketches, wireframes and prototypes. Some tools to note here include Sketch, Adobe Creative Cloud, Flinto, InVision and so on. There’s a ton of tools out there and the choice really depends on your preference.
Test & Iterate : take the results from the design work out into the wild and test hypotheses with real users. By testing in the user’s natural environments, designers and researchers are able to gather great feedback. This feedback is then used to iterate and improve the final product before (or after) launch.
Why is it Important?
It is imperative to deliver products and services that delight users in today’s world. Equally important is understanding your users and engaging in conversations with them. UX Design gives us tools to sit in the middle of it all, and weave an experience that makes customers come back for more. As a Designer, you are only limited by your creativity and imagination. But the impact you can have on the world is immense. More companies are looking for people with this skill set as customers begin to expect more. As designers, it’s our job to keep pace with both technology and expectations. And a good understanding of User Experience Design is a great start!
Where’s A Good Place to Start?
In the coming weeks, designers at Ello will be writing lots of content to show you how to build your UX skills. Medium is also a great resource for reading and learning about Design in general. The community here is alive and filled with great design reads. Some other great publications to start are :
All things prototyping: Responsive Design, Wireframing, Front-end Development, Accessibility and beyond (http:…blog.prototypr.io
A collection of tools and resources from Facebook Designfacebook.design
But all said, there is no substitute for practicing on your own. Use the resources we provide here and start some side projects!