UX designers usually have a process

Here a creative director explains everything about UX design

It is a challenge for any guide, article or book to cover all aspects of such a complex topic as UX design. User experience encompasses everything - from research to web usability and UX design.

The legendary German industrial designer Dieter Rams said:

I want to give you as little design as possible, but enough so that you can design well for yourself and your customers.

Good and bad UX design

  • Why is it that hard to use some websites and web applications?
  • How can a simple online form sometimes drive us to despair?
  • Why are the buttons so confusing or are the site navigation so complicated?
  • Why does nothing work how it should work?

So ... and now the other way around:

Why are some websites and web applications that easy to use?

The user experience is excellent, the functionality is simple, nothing breaks and the website design is WOW. Why is everything working so well?

Because the website design or web application was created for you - the user. If, according to the users, everything works perfectly - that is good user experience (UX).

Bad user experience is everywhere ... unfortunately. Maybe this was the case the last time you ordered food or booked a trip to Asia.

The fact is that we surf the Internet every day, on our cell phones, laptops, tablets, smart TVs and other devices. Have all of these platforms UX design Used as a strategy to give users relevant, meaningful and unforgettable moments - sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

I like Brad Frost’s definition:

UX design (User Experience Design) is the process of creating websites, web applications and services that help users gain meaningful, relevant experiences.

UX, XD, UCD, UI one and the same?

In short: no.

Understanding the spectrum of UX design is important if you are to acquire new skills and improve as a designer. So what does it include?

  1. User Experience (UX)

    UX is every user interaction and the quality of the experience that users have when interacting with a website, web application or service. Your website can offer higher-level functionality or numerous new features - ultimately, the opinion of the users decides whether your project will be a success. And hopefully this one is good!

  2. User Experience Design (XD)

    If User Experience (UX) is based on the connection between the user and a website, technology or device, the “global” experience of a brand is the focus for User Experience Design (XD).

What exactly is meant by that?

User experience design is often used in brand marketing and is usually driven by engagement between people and brands. The experience customers have with a brand, the ideas, memories and feelings associated with them - that is User Experience Design (XD).

  • User Centered Design (UCD) - User-centered design

OK. Let's build a website or web application. What do we need? We need users and business goals.

While UX is interested in the quality of the experience, User Centered Design (UCD) analyzes strategies and processes that can be used to generate these experiences.

The business goals and users are at the center of all environmental processes and strategies: from user research, planning, UX design, web usability, responsive design, user interface design to development and implementation.

It's a design approach that aligns with business goals and users to create value for both.

What is UI design? In short, all that pretty.

UI stands for User Interface Design. So it's about what things look like. The right user interface increases the professional standard of your product and makes you trusted by your target audience. This will attract the right customers and make your website, web application or service stand out from the competition.

How the images, buttons, graphics, text and animations look and the feeling they trigger - that is user interface design.

Confused already? That's not even the complete list.

How do we unite all of this?

As you have noticed, many of these topics overlap while others complement each other. The graphic below shows the spectrum of modern website design domains:

I showed you the many roles and areas of user experience and modern website design. From this you can conclude that during the design process it is always good to keep the user in mind:

  1. The business perspective: saves time and money by reducing costs and improving the satisfaction rate among users.
  2. The developer's perspective: Show them the right way and improve their chances of successfully implementing the project.
  3. The user's perspective: It's about the difference between whether users buy the product, leave the website, complete an order, cancel it in between and never come back.

Are you still coming? Well.

UX design has one ultimate goal: to put yourself in the user's shoes.

Why should one concern themselves with user experience or UX design and spend the time with all these concepts and job descriptions?

You can find the answer in the following chapter.


User experience: why is it important?

Why should one concern themselves with user experience or UX design and spend the time with all these concepts and job descriptions? You will find the answer in the following chapter.

At this point, this is probably what is going through your head:

"All I wanted was to design a website for myself!"

"My customers just need a modern website design!"

"Why do I need to know all of this?"

"Is Good Website Design Really That Complicated?"

Unfortunately, there are three reasons why your attitude is problematic.

  1. The fight for attention: In the good old days, the web was less competitive and easier to get people's attention. Users and programmers were still busy figuring out how to get the most out of the internet. Brands and companies worked mostly offline to build their image and reputation.
  2. The user is not important: Projects that do not consider the user are doomed to failure. The design team and business leaders will use their own judgment to evaluate the website or web application goals.
  3. Competitive advantage: In the past, experts dominated the web, but luckily those days are over. Today the internet is the most democratic place in the world. But if you don't ask the right question or find out how to improve your design skills, others will prevail.

A booming industry

UX design is a booming industry worldwide. Companies are discovering the massive ROI (Return on Investment) that they can generate for their web products and services by investing in the user experience.

User experience design is no longer an exclusive service from tech giants or advertising agencies. The area is also invading other industries such as education, fashion, film, and NGOs.

Not only is the demand for UX designers high, salaries are pretty competitive too. CareerFoundry has written a top post on the topic of UX labor market / salaries:

It is expected that the demand for UX designers will increase, because the job market and opportunities for UX designers have exploded in the last 10 years.

A study by Glassdoor found that entry-level jobs in UX design are among the highest-paid (6th place).

A look at the user experience ROI of Human Factors International:

The wide range of UX design work roles and activities as well as the numerous opportunities on the job market are visible in various areas today. This includes:

  • Complex projects: You can manage complex projects more easily if you have a UX mindset. If the website or web application has too many features that users do not like, they will not visit or use them.
  • Startups: High-tech start-ups are constantly developing innovative projects and they somehow have to understand user behavior - what users feel, how they use the web application, everything.
  • Projects with modest budgets: Small businesses usually skip user experience research for less important projects. But any development team with a modest budget will invest part of it in UX Designer.
  • Long lasting projects: The longer a project lasts, the more resources it devours. As a result, UX design and user experience are becoming increasingly important, especially when it comes to generating ROI.
  • Different industries: User experience design is no longer an exclusive service from tech giants or advertising agencies. The fast growing area is also invading other industries such as education, fashion, film and NGOs.

Check out these 13 remarkable statistics about UX design.

Read the Design Census, in which 9,429 designers took part.

Find out how UX fared in 2020.

Copy like an artist

When we are planning something new, it is always advisable to learn a few things from the professionals. The following principles and concepts were conceived by the most influential UX designers. Learn and implement the ideas without feeling guilty.

Don Norman, the "Godfather of UX" In 1988, Don Norman, known as the “Godfather of UX”, described design based on the user. In 1993 he was hired by Apple as a user experience architect. So he was the first to have such a job title. For Norman, one thing is certain: the most important thing about an everyday thing is how well it serves the user, not how pretty it looks.

Jesse James & the UX Iceberg According to Jesse James Garrett, author of the classic "The Elements of User Experience," the user experience process consists of five elements:

Surface (screen design): On the surface, you'll see a lot of website designs that are made up of images and text. You can also click on some of these pictures.

  1. Skeleton: Below the surface is the skeleton of the website / web application. Buttons, tabs, photos, text blocks, all of this is part of it - the layout should be optimized so that it has the best possible effect on the user.
  2. Structure: The structure defines how users got to this website and which ones they could go to when they are done here.
  3. Scope: Determines the many features and functions of the website / web application and analyzes how they fit together. Whether a feature is part of a website is a question of scope.
  4. Strategy: Deals with the strategy of the website. She not only encompasses the goals of the UX design team and the business goals, but also cares about the users and what expectations they have of the site.

This concept, which is based on the aforementioned classic by Jesse, was later reused and known, this time in the form of a UX iceberg.

  • Peter Morville & the User Experience Honeycomb model Peter Morville has been a pioneer in the areas of user experience and information architecture since 1994. He designed a frequently shared and used model that shows the facets of user experience - above all, it should help customers understand why user experience is about more than just usability. The UX Honeycomb model has seven facets and the "big beehive" demonstrates, according to Morville, a "dynamic, multi-dimensional space that has enough space to build new boxes and draw new arrows for the next 10 years."

Peter was probably right when he made that statement in 2004. 16 years later we're still talking about it.

The old masters and early UX designers realized that conceptualizing work would push the UX industry in the right direction. In the direction of developing higher quality products and improving the user experience.

Designers who are still at the beginning of their careers should first understand the basics and lay a foundation. If you want to become a good UX designer, you have to think like one.

Read Steal like an artist by Austin KleonMore on Information architecture /

More about information architecture

Another classic “The double diamond UX concept” from designcouncil.org.uk


Design thinking vs. UX design

The aim of UX Design is to solve certain user problems and to think about the quality of the user experience (website, product or web application). Design thinking, on the other hand, wants to find the right problem to be solved.

Stanford d.school made the five-step design thinking process known. This is versatile and can also be used in areas outside of UX and traditional design.

The model is useful for tackling unknown problems and consists of five steps:

  1. Be emphatic: Find out what your users need and want.
  2. Define: Define the wishes and problems of your users.
  3. Develop ideas: Question assumptions and develop ideas.
  4. Create a prototype: Find solutions and repeat them.
  5. Test: Test your solutions.

Design thinking isn't linear, so you should dig deeper into this five-step process to get a better idea of ​​what users think and what the ideal solution would look like.

Learn more by watching the Design Thinking video below:

System thinking

System Thinking is a tool for analyzing the overall system in which activities take place.

  • Why do we have deficits?
  • How can the teams communicate better?
  • Why do design teams have different budgets when we all ultimately achieve the goal?
  • How can we improve the strategy?

System Thinking deals with these questions. Compared to user-oriented design, this is a high-level design approach.

When designers understand the connections within the collective system, they will also better understand the user's industry and business model. The result: creating more relevant products and experiences.

It all comes together when you get the big picture:

OK. What now?

If we could summarize what we have learned so far about UX design, what would you say?

You are probably thinking of a versatile design approach that focuses on the user experience.

Not bad. UX designers have to empathize with users and convert complex ideas and behavior into a simple user interface. We can also add that the experience must be positive. This is the only way that users will return to the site and / or achieve their end goal.