Getting started

What is UX?

Colton Schweitzer
October 14, 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.

Back to vault

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Back to vault

2

What is UX?

2
Getting started

Why is UX important?

3
Getting started

What is the UX process?

4
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What is design thinking?

5
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What do UX designers do?

6
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UX vs UI

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Do UX designers need to know how to code?

8
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Recommended UX books

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UX university programs: Pros & cons

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UX bootcamps: Pros & cons

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6 brutal truths aspiring UX designers don't want to hear

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Difference Between Graphic Designer vs UX Designer vs UI Designer

15
Getting started

Intro to research & understanding

101
Research & understanding

Finding a problem to solve

102
Research & understanding

SWOT analysis

103
Research & understanding

Competitive analysis

104
Research & understanding

Heuristic evaluation (usability evaluation)

105
Research & understanding

Task analysis

106
Research & understanding

Stakeholder interview

107
Research & understanding

Framing the problem

108
Research & understanding

Research plan

109
Research & understanding

Survey

110
Research & understanding

User interview

111
Research & understanding

Card sorting

112
Research & understanding

Customer journey map

113
Research & understanding

Empathy map

114
Research & understanding

Affinity diagram

115
Research & understanding

Personas

116
Research & understanding

Contextual inquiry

117
Research & understanding

Diary study

120
Research & understanding

Eye tracking

121
Research & understanding

Intro to IA

201
IA & wireframing

Layout + CRAP

203
IA & wireframing

Site map

204
IA & wireframing

Scenarios

205
IA & wireframing

Storyboards

206
IA & wireframing

Low vs high-fidelity

207
IA & wireframing

Sketching

208
IA & wireframing

Wireframes

209
IA & wireframing

User flows

210
IA & wireframing

Intro to usability testing

301
Prototyping & usability testing

Usability testing plan

302
Prototyping & usability testing

Prototypes

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Prototyping & usability testing

Research report

305
Prototyping & usability testing

Typography basics

401
Visual design & handoff

Color basics

402
Visual design & handoff

Color accessibility

403
Visual design & handoff

Pixels vs points

404
Visual design & handoff

Layout + 8pt grid system

405
Visual design & handoff

Design system

406
Visual design & handoff

UX writing

408
Visual design & handoff

"Final" usability test

409
Visual design & handoff

UX portfolio basics

501
UX portfolio

Your portfolio is just another UX project

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UX portfolio

Choosing a site builder for your UX portfolio

503
UX portfolio

UX portfolio inspiration

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UX portfolio

5 tips for junior UXers asking for portfolio feedback

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UX portfolio