User experience (UX) design is the method by which design teams develop products that provide users with meaningful and relevant experiences. This includes the design of the entire acquisition and integration process, including branding, design, usability, and function.
There is still a lot of mystery surrounding the field, which is why, as a UX designer, your first role in a new job will always be to clearly articulate the value you’ll be bringing to the company and how you’ll do so.
This post serves two purposes. It will include a straightforward description of what UX is and what it means if you are new to UX design. If you’re a UX designer, it aims to provide you with a straightforward and succinct response to the all-too-common question: What exactly does a UX designer do?
Beyond UI Design
The word “User Experience Design” is often used interchangeably with words like “User Interface Design” and “Usability.” Although usability and user interface (UI) design are essential aspects of UX design, they are subsets of it; UX design encompasses a wide range of other areas as well.
A user experience designer is concerned with the entire process of obtaining and implementing a product, including branding, design, usability, and function. It is a story that starts before the user even holds the device.
Products that have an excellent user experience (for example, the iPhone) are thus crafted with not only the product’s consumption or use in mind, but also the entire process of purchasing, owning, and even troubleshooting it in mind. Similarly, UX designers don’t just focus on making usable goods; we also include enjoyment, performance, and fun as aspects of the user experience.
As a result, there is no universal concept of a successful user experience. Instead, a good user experience addresses the needs of a specific user in the sense in which he or she uses the product.
What Does a UX Designer Do?
If you’re thinking about being a UX designer, you’ll want to know how UX designers work daily. What sorts of projects do you anticipate working on? What is your role in a company? What exactly does a UX designer do?
As a user experience designer, the job is to make products and technologies more available, enjoyable, and open to humans. UX designers typically work as part of a larger product team, often bridging the divide between the customer, the production team, and key business stakeholders.
It is the first and foremost responsibility to work for the end-user or client. Whether creating a new product, developing a new feature, or making improvements to an existing product or service, the UX designer must consider what is best for the user and the overall user experience. At the same time, you are in charge of ensuring that the product or service meets the needs of the company.
The types of projects you’ll work on will vary greatly depending on the organization, as will the size of your team and your goals. You might end up designing websites, mobile apps, and applications, as well as speech, AR, and VR devices!
Some UX designers prioritize service design over concrete product design, such as designing the overall experience of taking public transportation or staying in a hotel. There are several specialist positions within the UX designer job title.
Despite the variety of the job, a UX designer can be expected to perform the following general functions:
- Conducting user research
- Creating user personas
- Determining the information architecture of a digital product
- Designing user flows and wireframes
- Creating prototypes
- Conducting user testing
It’s important to understand that UX designers aren’t always in control of a product’s visual design. Rather, they are concerned with the user’s journey and how the product is built to facilitate the journey. The following section would go into the UX design phase and some of the key tasks that a UX designer will be in charge of.
Must-Have Skills of a UX Designer
UX designers must be able to perform a wide variety of activities, which necessitates a diverse skill set. UX designers must have some “soft” skills in addition to technical and design skills such as wireframing, prototyping, and interpreting data and input.
Soft skills such as adaptability, communication, empathy, problem-solving, and teamwork are all necessary. As a UX designer, you must be able to successfully communicate with those around you, from customers and partners to developers and fellow designers, all the way to the end-user.
Business experience is also useful in the UX design industry. When developing design ideas, it is important to consider both the company’s priorities and the needs of the target audience.
UX Designer Tasks and Processes
As a UX designer, you can go through every phase of the UX design process to ensure that all products are designed with the consumer in mind. So, what sorts of things would you plan to do daily?
1. Visual Design
Although some UX designers specialize in visual design, it is more commonly associated with user interface (UI) design. As a result, the final imagery, color schemes, icons, and typography are normally handled by a UI artist. If you’re not sure what the difference between the two positions is, here’s a great guide that explains the distinctions between UX and UI design.
One final point to mention is that a UX designer’s work is rarely completed after the product is released. There will be tweaks, new launches, reviews to collect, and analytics to discuss with the team. The UX design process is highly iterative, and a career in UX entails as much teamwork and communication as it does design.
2. Conducting User Research
The research happens during the first stage of the UX design process. In most cases, a UX designer will receive a brief from the client or their manager instructing them to conduct project analysis.
As an example, consider the fictional fast-food chain “Foodies.” Consider this: Foodies contact you because they want to create a new app. To begin, the UX designer’s job will be to mix desk-based and field research to get a complete picture of who they are designing for. This may include evaluating the current website’s offerings, interviewing potential customers to recognize opportunities and pain points, and conducting competitor analysis to see what else is available.
These tasks allow the UX designer to identify the core features required for the Minimum Viable Product (the first iteration of a product that will be released) and to begin developing some initial user personas. A menu, the ability to make online reservations, and a local branch finder may be the most important features for Foodies.
In a nutshell, the user research process is when you scope out the project, determining who you’re designing for and what the users’ goals and challenges are concerning the product.
3. User Flows and Wireframes
UX designers use a variety of techniques, such as user flows and wireframes, to map out the user’s path through a product. User flows are simple flowcharts that depict the entire route a user takes while using a product, from the point of entry to the final interaction. More information on user flows can be found in this introductory guide. Wireframes offer a two-dimensional outline of a single screen or page, while user flows map out the entire user journey.
4. Prototyping and User Testing
After mapping out the product layout, the UX designer can build prototypes and conduct user tests. A prototype is essentially a scaled-down version of your product; a simulation that allows you to test your designs before development. Prototypes vary from basic paper models to practical, high-fidelity interactive prototypes that closely resemble the finished product.
Testing the designs on actual users allows you to identify any design defects before creating the final product. Several rounds of testing can be needed until the design is fully satisfactory. When it is, the new product will finally begin production. UX designers frequently attend sprint sessions, supervising product creation to ensure there are no feature creeps and assisting with minor design refinements as required.
As you can see, user experience (UX) is an interesting, varied, and highly rewarding career path that can lead you in a variety of directions. Hopefully, you now understand what a UX designer does and how to clarify it to anyone who asks!