UX Design Explained in 60 Seconds
Design is a core piece of life. Every human-made invention in our lives has been designed for a specific use: whether it be the apps on our phones, the style of our homes, or express lanes on the interstate, design is everywhere.
UX design, or user experience design, is the process of designing experiences, solutions, and processes to enhance our lives. It is the science and art of engaging people in a particular way to produce an emotional reaction or a particular response. UX design considers users’ potential actions as a key component of designing applications and tangible products. UX design is a skill that is beneficial to every company looking to grow.
Traced back to as early as ancient roman times, user experience design has long been an integral concept within society. Ancient romans developed theories of aesthetics to construct buildings which have stood tall through the test of time (think the Colosseum, erected between 70 and 80 A.D.). Ancient Rome constructed this amphitheatre in a specific way to attract and entertain high-status people from across the Roman world, and to convey a culture of wealth, power and Roman might.
Within the Colosseum, features were designed to preemptively provide the best experience possible. For example, a retractable awning, called the Velarium, was put in place to give shade to spectators under the beaming sun. The awning along with other aspects in the design of the Colosseum were put in place to create the best experience possible. Forward-thinking designs such as these are an inspiration for modern UX design and web designers alike.
While the term ‘user experience design’ wouldn’t be used for another two thousand years, it was during this time period that good design was described as durable, useful, and aesthetic. Those same qualifications today are expected in from both web designers and UX designers. These terms decided thousands of years ago are still taught, and are core expectations of all web development classes.
It wasn’t until the 1980s and the advent of personal computers that user design and web development became more prominent. As more and more people and businesses were beginning to invest in personal computers, HCI, or human-computer interaction, emerged as the leading concept to reach peak usability, with the goal of computers being intuitive.
What eventually evolved into UX design became known as interactive design in the 90s. It was this focus on taking users’ needs into account at every stage of the product life cycle that inspired web designer careers, web development classes, and the like. And while the history and evolution of user experience design is vast, it has always been geared toward creating the best products while considering both the business and users’ needs for the product.
So what does a user experience designer do exactly?
UX designers ask the who, what, how, when, where, and why to gain an understanding of everything that affects a user’s interaction with a product. This is important because no matter how great a product is, if the user doesn’t experience it well, the product won’t survive.
For example, say you find an article online about a topic you are passionate about, but when you click in, you are overwhelmed with pop-up ads. As much as you might want to read it, you are likely to look elsewhere for that content due to the unpleasant experience. So, when an entrepreneur has a product idea, a UX designer aims to preemptively enhance the user experiences in order to increase product profitability. In web development classes — where a website is the product — the importance of a cohesive and easily-navigated website is stressed.
Rather than focus solely on the look of a product, “the feel” becomes a larger focus. Instead of working with color patterns and different fonts to attract attention, a UX designer determines what users will experience (think, feel, like, dislike) about a particular font and how it will impact their decision about the brand in general or the experience in particular. Graphic designers and web designers create the visuals, whereas UX designers create the blueprint behind the visuals.
UX design is often referred to as an umbrella term, because it encompasses so many different aspects of design, from usability and visual design to interfacing and product development. For that reason, professionals in user experience design are sometimes referred to as information architects, usability specialists, user interface designers, visual designers, and more.
Is a UX designer career right for me?
User experience design is a career that melds with practically any career sector. This multidisciplinary field encompasses psychology, sociology, aesthetics, and usability. Its many-faceted subsets means that the field is open to people of all backgrounds. As society has become more technologically focused, UX design demands have skyrocketed.
At the same time, the UX designer field is an easy one to get into. Possibly because of its digital nature, UX design has a low-barrier of entry, making it a perfect choice for those looking to make a new career move. And if you understand computers and have a love for continually learning, you will easily pick up the user experience and web designer skill sets. Web development classes are fairly inexpensive, and overall, the position is fun, challenging, rewarding, and well-compensated.
Just as every field has something to offer UX design, UX design has much to offer other careers as well. For instance, workers in sales and customer service positions with UX design training are better equipped to predict consumer complaints, to understand why prospects feel the way they do, and to implement practical solutions.
As the world becomes more digitized, the more that UX design and web designer skills grow in demand. UX designers and web designers will find many available career opportunities, while those interested in learning UX design from a UX UI bootcamp program will increase their current value as an employee.