User experience (UX) design can be a tricky and complicated field for beginners to grasp; as it involves a wide range of technical concepts (from wire-framing to usability testing). That's why, at Klyp, we have created this Overview to make it easy for those from multiple digital disciplines; to gain a basic understanding of what the user experience really means in a design context.
User Experience Design (UXD) is the process of improving a user's experience with a product or service. It involves researching human behaviour and interpreting this information to design processes which successfully guide users to achieve a desired outcome, such as making a purchase. The term UXD is used in relation to websites, applications and other systems. The purpose of these designs is to positively influence how users feel about the application or site, to ensure they have the ideal experience. In the early days of the internet, websites were simple, static pages serving information. Whereas today, such digital encounters are interactive experiences, with rich, engaging content. Increasingly, people have greater expectations about every touch point they have with a brand, product or service. The emotions users feel during each of these interactions contributes to their overall perception of the brand.
“Humans have always been emotional and have always reacted to the artefacts in their world emotionally.”
– Alan Cooper, President of Cooper
It follows therefore, that a good UX Designer should be able to say yes to all the questions below:
A UX Designer is more interested in the relationship between human users and computer-based products. They investigate and analyse how users feel about particular products. Then they apply this knowledge during product development to ensure the user has the best possible experience, with the product.
UX Designers conduct research, analyse and share their findings with other members of the development team, plus monitor development projects. They work on an assortment of projects, from start-ups to projects with substantial budgets, complex and long-term projects. All of these projects benefit from the expertise of UX Designers, who help to ensure the company receives a return on investment.
I remember those days, going back a few years ago now, when UX was still not a widely recognised term. At that time, my job was mainly focused on designing “cool” websites. The design decisions made were based on assumptions about what looked good; regardless of the demonstrated success or failure of the design to result in the desired action. At that stage, the industry largely didn't implement UX practices during project development. Whereas, advances in technology now means the functionality of applications/websites is more diverse and complex. This has increased the number of players in the market and amplified the degree of competition. Approaching these projects from a UX perspective, increases the likelihood of success. The User Experience can make or break a design. You can have a great idea, big budget and technical resources but if your UX fails; it’s game over for your product or service.
When I first began my Design career, my technical vocabulary was limited. I had difficulty understanding, as well as communicating effectively with Front and Back-end Developers. They would casually throw tech terms and acronyms at me during meetings. I would have to go back to my desk to Google what I'd heard, to see if our thoughts truly aligned. I've compiled a list of common terms used in the digital space, so other Designers seeking clarification can prepare themselves for discussions with Web Development teams.
Common tech terms:
I encourage Designers to research these terms further to gain a better understanding. It will definitely come in handy, as you plan your career progression into UX and UI (User Interface) Design. The earlier you familiarise yourself with these terms, the sooner you can begin to communicate using tech lingo!
I definitely recommend these books about UX Design:
Getting your head around the entire UX Design process takes time. I hope this Overview will help you begin the journey to become a UX Designer - good luck!