User experience or UX design is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after career goals because of the high promise it holds for a rewarding career. It is now one of the most lucrative career options in the technological field as it can be exciting, challenging, and at the same time, highly satisfying for those who can fuse creativity and technology with a human touch. Therefore, it is quite natural that UX jobs are in high demand. Those keen on designing creating compelling website experiences and apps and love to work with people and a lot of software would find the offerings just right for them.
Although UX design is mostly technical, it flourishes on the creative and social skills of designers. To understand what exactly UX designers do, you must first understand what UX design is all about. Very few people have enough clarity about the role and responsibilities of UX designers, and this article can provide many answers that you are looking for. It should help to clear the confusion about the field as you will be able to understand how you can contribute value to the company you are working for.
What is UX design?
To understand the work of a UX designer, you must first have a clear idea about what is UX design. User experience design focuses on the experience of human users during their interactions with products and services in their daily lives like various equipment, devices, and gadgets, as well as websites and web applications or apps. It is a discipline made up of multiple aspects of business, market research, psychology, technology, and design. It more of a multi-disciplinary field, and UX designers must wear different hats. Before we explore what the UX designer does, let us first look into the origins of UX design.
The origins of UX design
Donald Norman, who worked as a cognitive scientist for Apple, was the first to coin the term UX design in the early nineties. Norman took a special interest in the overall experience of users when interacting with a product or service that consisted of industrial design, the interface, graphics, and physical interaction. To bring the varied elements of experiences under one umbrella that captures the feelings of users when interacting with a product or service, he used the term ‘user experience.’
Soon the term became widely accepted, and it has become synonymous with good business. Only those products and services can succeed in the market that provides a seamless user experience. This has enhanced the demand for UX designers that have grown manifold, and as the technological market keeps evolving, UX designers are gaining more attention.
The employment market for UX designers and their salaries bear testimony to the ever-increasing demand.
The role of UX design
Trying to visualize what exactly UX design looks like, let us consider that you are shopping online for a pair of shoes of a specific type and search for the term ‘shoes’ that shows up a hundred types of shoes. Now you must scroll down the list and scan each type to discard the unwanted ones before you can locate the specific shoes that you are looking for and add it to the basket. If you are a first-time customer, then before you can proceed to purchase, you have to register on the site by filling a form that has at least a dozen mandatory fields. Having to complete the exercise after spending so much time to select the shoes would be so much of a hassle that you would prefer to give it up and abandon the site. This is an example of a bad user experience.
Although UX design does not directly pertain to websites but emanates from the product of service that users interact with, UX designers must address the issues related to the user-friendliness of websites in carrying out various actions with minimum effort and intuitively. The elements of good or bad user experience remain embedded in the experience gathered by users when using the website to complete any purchase.
This leads us to the other question about what UX designers do.
The role of UX designers
Knowing what jobs UX designers have to do daily should help you to understand their role and what kind of projects they handle.
The primary role of a UX designer is to make products and services accessible, enjoyable, and usable for humans. They must work to make technology more human-friendly. UX designers work as a member of a bigger product team and help to bridge the gaps between the development team, users, and business stakeholders. UX designers are advocates of end-users. Whether it is a brand-new product launch or introducing an existing product by upgrading its features, the UX designer must consider the overall user experience and what is best for the user. But at the same time, the UX designer must ensure that the business needs are well-addressed through the products or services by ensuring good returns and customer loyalty.
Projects and tasks handled by a UX designer
UX designers must be ready to work on varied projects depending on the company, the size of the team, and their priorities. At one end, there might be tasks related to website design and app design and development, software development, and designing for AR and VR devices as well as voice. On the other end, there might be work-related to service design, like designing the overall experience of a hotel stay or using public transport.
Everyday tasks handled by UX designers vary according to the role and the company they work for. They could be involved in conducting user research, creating user personas, designing user flows and wireframes, determining the information architecture of digital products, creating prototypes, and conducting user testing.
It is essential to understand that UX designers are in no way responsible for visual product design. Their focus is on the user’s journey and how best to structure the product to facilitate the journey that provides a highly pleasing experience.