What is user experience design?

User experience (UX) design is the process design teams use to create products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences for users. It involves designing the entire product acquisition and integration process, including branding, design, usability and function. UX designers combine market research, product development, strategy and design to create seamless user experiences for products, services and processes. They build a bridge to the customer, helping the business better understand and meet their needs and expectations.

UX practitioners (called UX designers) study and evaluate how users feel about a system, examining aspects such as ease of use, perceived value of the system, usability, efficiency in performing tasks, and so on. The first requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother. Next, simplicity and elegance that produce products that are a pleasure to own, a pleasure to use. True user experience goes far beyond giving customers what they say they want, or providing them with checklist functions.

To achieve a high-quality user experience in a company's offerings, there must be a seamless fusion of services from multiple disciplines, such as engineering, marketing, graphic and industrial design, and interface design. A user experience (UX) designer ensures that a product is easy to learn and use for the end user. A user experience designer works from the beginning of any product process to ensure that product teams are building products that are aware of their users, their needs and pain points. Universal, user-friendly design is beneficial for everyone, and UX designers are in a position to shape the world around us.

When designing these experiences, UX designers must consider how they can bring value to all types of users. Once the user flows are determined, the designer knows what steps the user has to take to complete their desired tasks. So, for example, a UX designer would take the principles of how to make a product accessible, and actually translate those principles into the design process of a system so that a user interacting with it would find it accessible. Every time you buy a coffee, stay in a hotel or use public transport, your experience is the result of service design, and the methodology of service design is very similar to that of classic UX design.

As you can see, UX design has multiple interpretations, but it's really about keeping your users at the centre of everything you create. It's a process of deeply understanding the user's needs and goals, identifying where their biggest problems lie, and working generatively to devise ways to solve them. As user experience is subjective, the best way to get direct feedback is by studying and interacting with users. Nokia was the leader for a long time, but when the first iPhone came out, user expectations about mobile interactions changed.

In the early 1990s, cognitive scientist Don Norman joined the Apple team as a user experience architect, making him the first person to have UX in his job title. Experience design (XD) is the practice of designing products, processes, services, events, omni-channel journeys and environments with a focus on the quality of the user experience and culturally relevant solutions. From a business perspective, world-class user experience design is absolutely key to ensuring customer satisfaction and building brand loyalty. There is a debate in the experience design community about its focus, sparked in part by design academic and practitioner Don Norman.

It is recognised that the interaction design component is an essential part of user experience (UX) design, which focuses on the interaction between users and products. UX designers then try to meet those needs by defining the user flow, creating the design language, wireframing, prototyping, user testing and design documentation.