Several people in the world today have encountered the words “UX design” in one way or the other.
And while a majority of those who have come across professionals operating in this space have an idea of what it is about, they do not really understand it. This post seeks to rectify that by explaining what UX design is in-depth and also by giving an insight into what the UX design process looks like.
What is UX Design
The UX in UX design stands for User Experience. It is not new as it has existed for thousands of years, in fact. The term, however, was coined recently by Donald Norman, a cognitive scientist who worked at Apple. It simply refers to every aspect of how a user experiences a particular product. This includes the industrial design, the interaction, the graphics, and the interface through the user interacts with that product. And while the term has come to be used mainly for digital products, it can be said to encompass every product, whether digital or otherwise.
UX design only recently gained traction, as a result of the rise in the number of people who use mobile and wearable technologies, as well as the increase in the usage of apps on a global scale, due to more and more people having access to smartphones and internet. The field requires versatility. This is because there are many elements involved all of which the designer has to master if he is to develop memorable user experiences. It requires skills and tools such as project management, testing, interaction design, research, testing, business analysis and wireframing.
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The UX design process
The first stage of the UX design process involves the UX designer conducting research into the product for which he will be designing the user experience. This will assist the designer to identify those features that are central to the success of that product.
The next stage is the persona and information architecture stage where the UX designer attempts to figure out the actions that users of the product will want to accomplish with it, as well as their motivation for these actions. The information from this will, thereafter, be used to flesh out the information architecture and site map, which will in turn be used to develop paper prototypes.
Wireframes and testing
Upon completing the information architecture stage and building paper prototypes from it, the next stage in the UX design process is the wireframe ad user testing stage. Here, the UX designer will model the design initially using black and white before moving on to more advanced, interactive designs. The purpose of the interactive designs is to model what the completed product will be like. During this stage, a lot of user testing will be done, as well as iteration, so as to ensure that nothing is amiss.
This stage is where the wireframe, after series of testing, is visually designed for use in the final product. This, more often than not, falls under the purview of a UI designer though.
After the completion of the product mockup, the next thing to do is to test if it is usable. The product is sent into production if and only if scales through this round. Scaling through this round would mean that the product provides the best experience possible for its end user.
The UX designer’s work does not end there, however, as there are several other things to do even after the product has been developed and launched into the market.In all, it is a very demanding and yet, fulfilling job, as it represents an opportunity to impart lives and help make their experience of products fun and interactive.