What is UX Design?
Tech jobs are cool, especially in 2020, which is the time of remote jobs and voluntary isolation caused by COVID-19. UX designing skills are top-ranked by the job market today. Specialists in UX design are in high demand and sought after by many companies out there.
UX designers are those guys who create a path that logically flows from one step to another for ensuring the product sense for end-users. And many industries want to have that because they just simply want to sell their products and sell lots of it. Obviously, if you’re fostering the idea of becoming a UX designer, learn and master all skills essential for the job.
Have a close look at the information we’ve compiled in this blog post to give you more insights into UX design and what it takes to become a good UX designer.
What is UX design?
When we talk about User Experience Design (or UX), we should essentially realize that UX deals with the entire user experience and captures this experience in representations called “user journey”/“customer journey.” Experienced UX designers say that UX design is far broader than most people think. UX is literally all about every single thing that affects user’s satisfaction in one way or another. It may range from the color of a single button to a single line of code that slows an app down by 0,1 second.
UX is generally considered to be a superset of UI. This does include building UI design but UX is a great deal more. UX design includes every step from how a potential user (person, organization, etc.) becomes aware of your product or service. To how they become a customer to how they interact once they are a customer/user to how things might end.
UX also analyzes various other outcomes like error workflows, the ways how products might be returned, ways how a complaint can be handled, so on. If we take a product as an example, let’s say some app, then a UX designer would not just be building the design itself, layouts, and colors of the app. They would be also involved in the planning of functionality of this entire app.
UX, or any design in general, is only 20% of actually the design itself. The other 80% of the entire process is happening outside the screen. UX is all about end-users, so UX designers spend most of their time mastering systems/processes that help to grasp on end-users’ needs much better and analyze them. These processes can be a whole bunch of things: interviews, journey mapping, testing, data analysis, various brainstorm techniques, etc. Basically, anything that has to do with the end-users. Therefore, UX designers are always measuring, collecting, analyzing data, etc.
A quick outline of the essentials for making UX design experience effective:
- Evaluate the ways how the product behaves
- Analyze how the product feels
- Learn how design flows from initial state to an end goal
- Analyze all aspects of the product’s design that keep users engaged
- Watch closely how the product looks overall
- Keep on improving research methods
- Keep on making mockups & hi-fi prototypes
- Run user testing/design validation
What is the difference between UX and UI design?
Let’s try to distinguish UX design from UI design and see how they are different. For the most part, UX deals with the analytical side of product development. Whereas UI deals with the visual or graphic development which enhances and improves users’ interaction. UX connects the dots between users’ needs and the needs of businesses. Whereas UI design makes an interactive bridge between the product/app and the user. Apart from this, UX designers deal with prototyping, analytics, as well as wireframing.
If UX was done poorly, odds are users will turn away. Other considerations are connectivity, speed, business needs, platform, user urgency, device constraints, and social acceptance. A user experience designer ought to be considering these aspects of design, even when products lend themselves to more passive interactions or ambient data collection.
On the other hand, UX should be pushing the whole team, including engineers and product managers, to consider the impact of their decisions on the users of the system. UX contains a much bigger picture than UI does but it still relies on the smallest details to drive it. This understanding can become the most powerful asset anyone can possibly have in product development.
If you’re nor sure yet, look at the comparison outline that shows the difference between UX and UI:
- The goal of UX is to make interfaces useful – UI does everything to make it look beautiful;
- UX focuses on everything that will help users accomplish goals – UI strives for establishing emotional connections with end-users;
- UX is employed across products and services – UI is only for working processes that deal with interfaces.
Although UX and UI are inter-related yet they are very much different when it comes down to the way they perform in an app development process. Basically, UX provides stuff that makes the application more meaningful, whereas UI makes an interface look more aesthetically pleasing from the user’s perspective.
How to learn UX design?
Made a choice to become a UX designer? Then learn some basic facts before you jump into it. First of all, start with a positive attitude, because every career change starts with a passion for the chosen field. And, of course, your own eagerness to learn. When it comes down to UX, learn and practice basic coding skills. This will become handy later when you’ll need to present your ideas to coders. Plus, you’ll be able to guide developers clearly while creating pixel-perfect interfaces. Coding is not a mandatory requirement but this is something that will also make you look very good to recruiters.
There is other important stuff to pay attention to while in the process of learning UX design. For example, having the ability to observe people, their behavior. You’ll need to analyze the pain points that people have, develop an ability to solve problems with ease. Foster these skills no matter whether you will be dealing with the design of physical or digital products.
Go with case studies available online and start reading them. Learn about the design process step-by-step. UX is an evolving process where you keep improving a product’s experience with the support of data and numbers. Read some books about user experience, agile methodologies, etc.
Some helpful books for learning UX design are:
- Don’t Make me – Steve Krug
- Elements of user interface design – Jesse James Garrett
- Microinteractions – Dan Saffer
- Lean UX – Jeff Gothelf, Josh Seiden
Hang around on design inspiration websites:
Take online courses on UX Design & coding offered by the eLearning platforms like:
Try to get your foot in the door by getting into a startup as an intern. This can get you a good start with it. Most of the startups offer interns for 3-6 months. During this time you’ll get your hands on actual projects.
What are UX design skills?
UX designers master such important skills like user research, usability testing, wireframing, and prototyping. This set of skills should deliver success to a range of the following issues:
- Registration. How much information do users need to provide? What format? Is registration necessary for using this app? Should it connect to social media? Should the registration be set on one page or many? How does the user progress?
- App’s Usability. Does the app auto-login? Does it require users to log in again? If so, does it pre-fill the username field? Which keyboard layout should be used for any specific field? What navigation should the app use? Does it remember where users left off on previous use of the app? How much information should the app show on certain pages? What information should it hide? Should content be refreshed automatically or manually? Why?
- Outside the app. Should the app send notifications? How often? Do the notifications link into a specific page in the app? What about emails? Are users emailed reminders? If they haven’t given their email address, should the app ask for it? When?
Since UX closely deals with humans and human nature is all about evolving and changing with time, UX design should always encounter unique users with unique scenarios. Any design needs to be created with personalization in mind. So, to be good at UX, you should actually be good at psychology.
As a UX designer, try to facilitate the smoothest experience for the user. Allow the user to get done what they came to accomplish. In other words, the less friction they have while trying to do something, the better a UX designer accomplished his job.
Once the UX designer collects feedback from users, he determines the best strategies to use to improve his work. For example, revising is an inevitable part of any UX design process. This ultimately allows a design to grow and mature. A great UX designer understands that feedback and revision that lead to a stronger product. Good UX designers never stop analyzing what needs improvements.
Also, a good UX designer should be able to back up all of their decisions with good logic, even for the smallest things such as whether to use a dropdown or radio buttons to submit data. Final decisions must make sense and provide the results that users exactly want. In the end, if the result is the user having a good experience with the product, the job has been done well.
Finally, take a quick look at the chart of the essential strategies that work effectively for any UX designer, who works his butt off on his way to success:
- Empathize with the intended end-user. This isn’t just emotional empathy, it means that you will need to visualize their needs and wants, and attempt to walk through their use cases from their perspective. This is more about understanding what the product is able to do, and should do.
- Have a complete understanding of all of the available UI patterns for the given coding environment, and in what context to implement such patterns.
- Understand the scope and timeline of the project, and be able to propose solutions that are within reach for the given deadline. Often, elegant solutions are not fast, and fast is not elegant.
- Understand the competitive landscape and strategy. Innovation should come from making unique connections available with this product, team, or technology that the competitors do not have. It’s finding those ways to make things a little bit more convenient, a little bit easier. This will create a competitive advantage.
- Analyze usage data to draw conclusions. Learn how to use GA (google analytics), or Omniture, or whatever analytics platform is out there. Gain a ton of insights about user patterns from analytics, especially in high volume products.
- Collaborate with engineering and product. It’s often said that product (business), development, and design speak different languages. Great UX designers can translate their communication to cater to many audiences.
- Visualize a concept before designing it. This goes far beyond visualizing the static design of a “page.” This is visualizing the interaction of the UI as a complete system.
- Being able to connect all the dots. Really great UX designers treat UX projects like complex puzzles taking into account several different factors for finding the best solutions possible.
Since UX is becoming increasingly popular in the workforce, learning UX design skills is a smart move for boosting a career. Thanks to modern technologies that allow people to learn everything they want at home. To become a UX designer is also possible now in this technological world, even with no prior experience. Just set your priorities and figure out what you want to learn in UX design. Then pick a practical online UX design course that Grinfer has plenty of on its eLearning platform. All online courses were created by experienced and best-selling web designers. You can also find a design mentor who will provide all the answers to your questions with 1-1 consultations available on Grinfer by request.