image of a ux designer looking confused at his imac

What is UX design?

People refer to UX in many ways, the most common being User Experience or Usability. But for many, UX design is a mystery. So, let’s look at what UX design is and what it is not.

What UX design is

If we take a look at Wikipedia, we’ll see the following definition of UX:

User experience (UX or UE) is how a user interacts with and experiences a product, system, or service. It includes a person’s perceptions of utility, ease of use, and efficiency.

The great Steve Krug says this:

UX is improving how useful, easy, pleasant, marketable, or addictive it is to use a product.

Steve Jobs said:

Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works…

All over the internet, you will hear the terms UX, User Experience, and Usability used interchangeably, but essentially, they all mean the same thing… How a user interacts with (your) software.

So let me ask a rhetorical question: do you want your users to:

  1. Have an easy, pleasant experience when using your software?
  2. Or do you want them to battle through every barrier you put up because the outcome might be worth it?

I suggest going with number 1.

What UX is not

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UX is not a dark art. It’s not something reserved for those who have been anointed on Mount Krug by the gods of Usability.

It’s a learned skill. And one I hope to give you some insights into on this blog.

The only thing UX isn’t is intangible. It’s not visual design, where we can argue for and against something based on personal taste. UX is scientific (if you want it to be), thorough, and will move the needle on your business. It’s badass!

Now that we have the introductions let’s discuss UX’s beautiful stepsister, UI (User Interface Design).

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