What Is User Experience Design?

What Is User Experience Design?

UXD, or User Experience Design, is the design of experiences for users. That sounds easy enough to understand …..or is it? There’s a wide breadth of work that goes into UXD.  UX Designers research, iterate, and test various design solutions.  It requires a cross-discipline perspective that considers multiple aspects. It encompasses a process that puts users’ behaviors at the forefront of product creation. UXD takes the experiences, which are the interactions that users have with a product, to help build products that cater to our needs.  In a way, UX Designers are the cheerleaders of the world for the users, us!  Their goal is to make sure that their product is as easy to use as possible, creating a quality user experience, and is also a solution to a real life problem. It’s all about helping people solve problems with elegance.   

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

— Leonardo da Vinci

User Experience FAQ

#1) What is User Experience?

User Experience is the practice of address the total experience of a user's journey through a particular process.  As a comparison, User Interface (UI) Design is the practice of optimizing an experience within an application.  Improving a design of a mobile app is UI Design, while thinking about (and improving) the experience that surrounds the need for the app, is UX Design.

Excellent user experience meets the needs of the customer paired with as simple a process of possible. UX goes beyond giving customers what they say they want and delivers it as simply as possible. This may mean systems that do less, in order to prioritize more important functions.  High-quality user experience should ideally integrate multiple disciplines, including business, engineering, marketing, and design.

If you want a more technical definition the standard ISO 9241-210, which governs the ergonomics of human-system interaction, defines user experience as an individual’s perceptions and responses that result from using or the anticipated use of a product, service, or system.

#2) How to study User Experience?

How to study all depends upon your learning style.  It’s going to vary from person to person.  The field of User Experience is still a fairly new discipline so there are several ways to study UX.  No matter what, these are important steps:

  1. Understand all the design directions - do you really want to do UX?
  2. Study the tools for work - at Metal Toad we use the Adobe Suite, & Sketch
  3. Start paying attention to design - sign up for newsletters, join a trade group.
  4. Find a hero or two
  5. Create your portfolio and a resume
  6. Reach out and find a mentor
  7. Get a Job  - any job will do when you are getting started

User Experience Quotes

A few more descriptions from User Experience Design experts out in the world:

Career Foundry

“User experience (UX) refers to any interaction a user has with a product or service. UX design considers each and every element that shapes this experience, how it makes the user feel, and how easy it is for the user to accomplish their desired tasks. This could be anything from how a physical product feels in your hand, to how straightforward the checkout process is when buying something online. The goal of UX design is to create easy, efficient, relevant and all-round pleasant experiences for the user.”


“UX is a growing field that is very much still being defined. Creating a successful user-centered design encompasses the principles of human-computer interaction (HCI) and goes further…..”

Beaker & Flint

“UX Design is studying user behaviour and understanding user motivations with the goal of designing better digital experiences.”

UX Design

“User Experience Design (UXD, UED), Interaction Design (IxD), User Interface (UI) Design and other web/application design professionals use the term User Experience Design to refer to the judicious application of certain user-centered design practices, a highly contextual design mentality, and use of certain methods and techniques that are applied through process management to produce cohesive, predictable, and desirable effects in a specific person, or persona (archetype comprised of target audience habits and characteristics). All so that the affects produced meet the user’s own goals and measures of success and enjoyment, as well as the objectives of the providing organization.”

Notes: What is user experience design? What is user experience? How to study user experience? How to become a user experience researcher? How to become a user experience designer? How to get into user experience? What does a user experience designer do? Which is an example of an unnecessary resource negatively impacting the user experience? What is connected user experiences and telemetry? What is a user experience researcher?

Date posted: November 4, 2019

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