The basics: What is UX?
Over the last few years, UX as a concept and a process is becoming more commonplace. You might have heard about UX to some degree, but what does the day-to-day look like for a UX designer? Why are they valuable and what do they actually do? We take a foundational look at UX in the first of a blog series exploring the landscape of UX.
Firstly, what is UX?
User experience design (UX) is the process of creating products that are user-friendly. Products can be anything you, as a user, interact with.
For us at Light Creative, this means lots of websites and apps. Good UX is achieved by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction with a product.
Still not sure yet? Watch this video for a basic rundown.
Now, what does a UX designer actually do?
There are lots of techniques involved in UX design, and they’re all generally focused on research. The UXer wants to get to know the user and their needs. Research techniques range from facilitating user interviews, analysing competitors, developing user scenarios, identifying content strategies, to wireframes and user testing. Because there are so many different techniques involved with UX, one of the biggest tricks is for the UX designer to identify which ones are appropriate for the specific project.
Why do you need a UX designer?
A UX designer will do the research to ensure your product, app, website does what it should do. Often the biggest issue that you’ll face when defining what your product 'should' do comes from ‘user testing’ and ‘user interviews’. Actually finding the time to sit down, face to face, with your target audience and properly run through the aims and needs of a product is tough and time-consuming. It’s even tougher to identify the audience and then get a hold of some of them to speak about their needs. But this is the heart of UX. A UX designer isn’t your audience and they know better than to assume.
Want to learn more about UX?
UX is a highly theoretical field. If you want to get into it, you’ll find a huge amount of resources at your disposal Check out some of these articles to get you on your way:
- A UX crash course by The Hipper Element. Be sure to check out the rest of the blog for some great content too.
- 5 Things Everyone Should Know About UX Work by Interaction Design Foundation. A visual and consumable guide to understanding UX and how to approach a UX designer.
- UX Glossary: task flows, user flows, flowcharts and some new-ish stuff by Naema Baskanderi. A great look at some of the tools used by UXers.
- 51 research terms you need to know as a UX designer by Guy Ligertwood. A great resource for beginners to learn the language of UX.
There’s a lot more to UX but now you have a basic understanding, you can move on to more complex UX concepts.