User Experience (UX) Design

User experience (UX) design is a human-centered design discipline that deals with the holistic experience around a product or service, taking into consideration the user, system, and context.

A Venn diagram of the intersection of three circles: Context, User, and System, with User Experience (UX) at the center.

User experience (UX) design focuses on:

  • User journey: The entire process surrounding the use of a product, from the problem to be solved through the impact of the solution.
  • User research: Qualitative and quantitative research to put the user at the center of the design process.
  • Deliverables: Documents that define the users, user experience, workflows, and features of a product or design, such as:
    • Personas: Summaries of example and target users, generally based on a composite of user research.
    • User journey maps: A timeline of user actions related to accomplishing a particular goal related to a product or design.
    • Storyboards: A sequence of panels (often resembling a comic book) depicting a user journey chronologically.
    • High-fidelity and low-fidelity prototypes: Iterative models, sketches, or wireframes of a design used to gather feedback and inform the final design.

UX designers are involved in the whole product or service experience from start to finish, including the strategy, scope, structure, skeleton, and surface, as described by the Five Elements of UX Design.

The Five Elements of UX Design, from concrete to abstract: Surface, Skeleton, Structure, Scope, and Strategy, with UX design encompassing the entire process, and UI design focused on the Surface.

A day in the life of a UX designer may include:

  • Creating wireframes for an upcoming web launch.
  • Creating high-fidelity digital prototypes of a design.
  • Working on an onboarding flow for a mobile application.
  • Interviewing users.
  • Developing user personas.
  • Connecting with other teammates about ideation, design, or development.

Both user interface (UI) design and user experience (UX) design are centered on users and ensure that the products and systems are meeting real needs and are as intuitive and pleasant as possible to use.

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