Getting started

What is UX?

Colton Schweitzer
November 2, 2020

UX stands for User Experience and is the process of making a (digital or physical) product or service useful, relevant, and meaningful for people. 

UX design focuses on the interaction between physical or digital products and services like websites or apps and real people. It includes all parts of the interaction between a user and company (the app, website, product,  service, community, etc.).

Let’s look at a simple example of UX design that we all interact with every day to some extent, a door. Imagine you were walking up to this door. What would you do?

Would you try to push it open? Or would you try to pull it? It’s incredibly unclear, kinda like the movie Donnie Darko. 

Even if when you add the text “push” to these kinds of doors it's still problematic. The design of the handle screams to people to pull it to open. That’s bad UX. The basic design of the door suggests to people to do the opposite of what they should do to be successful.

Instead, a door with good UX would make it clear to people what action they should take to open the door on their first try. 

There are 6 core disciplines of UX: 

• User research 

• Business analysis 

• Information architecture

• Content strategy

• Interaction design

• Visual design  


There are many people that specialize in one of these disciplines. If you’re a UX designer generalist (like we are), this means you get to wear all of these hats.

As a user researcher, you’ll be the voice for the user. 

You’ll conduct user interviews, usability studies, heuristic evaluations, and surveys. You’ll also build empathy maps, affinity maps, personas, research reports, etc.

As a business analyst, it's critical to understand the business strategy.

You’ll help ensure business objectives are being considered throughout the design process. 

As an information architect, you'll build the foundation and framework of the design. 

You’ll design the navigation, create sitemaps, build the taxonomy, and organize information logically through schemes and structures.

As a content strategist, you’re in charge of creating the content.

You’ll help write copy and create, organize, and map out content. 

As an interaction designer, you'll bring the design to life.

You’ll create storyboards, sketches, wireframes, prototypes, and animations that map to users’ mental models. 

And finally, as a visual designer, you'll make the designs beautiful. 

You’ll create style guides, apply color theory, choose typography, create graphics, build icons, and design the final user interface. 

As a designer, you’re a problem solver

All types of design out there, from graphic design to UI design, are about solving problems. You start with what needs to be accomplished and how people react to what’s in front of them and why.

As a UX designer, your number one priority is to understand and solve user problems.

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WRITTEN BY
Colton Schweitzer
DATE
October 14, 2020
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