Believe it or not, UX Design is somewhat of a controversial topic. Some professionals define the role of UX Design as a process for enhancing user satisfaction with a product. Others believe there is no such thing as UX Design. The thought is that you can’t design a clear-cut experience because individual users will interact and react differently. You can, however, design for an experience.
For me, UX Design is a methodology for making informed design decisions based on an individual having a positive interaction. These design decisions are rooted in an understanding of human behavior and how individuals interact and navigate similar environments.
When concepting an idea where the interaction is just, if not more, important than the physical aesthetic, I like to consider a couple of things before jumping into the layout.
The Medium – How is the user going to connect with the final product? What are some of the challenges and limitations with this medium and is there a decision, design or technique, that can be considered to alleviate those challenges?
The Process – Unlike traditional graphic design where you might touch on user interaction but focus more on messaging and aesthetics, the process for UX Design starts and ends with the user. You must have an in-depth understanding of your product and your target demographic. Every design decisions must be reinforced by adding to a positive experience for that user. You also must have a team in place that can properly execute the development of that experience – like Nova.
The Psychology – A deep understanding of how people perceive different things such as proximity, similarity, closure, symmetry, common fate, continuity, conciseness, and past experience (see Gestalt Theory) play a big part in how to elevate that user experience. Something as simple as changing the color of a single shape in a group of shapes can create a different experience and change how you want something to be perceived and how it is actually being perceived.
So, what really does make UX Design different? It’s the methodology. UX Design has often been siloed into only being for digital or product applications but that isn’t the case. There may be instances where the user experience is quick such as a print advertisement in a magazine but the experience is just as important. By considering medium, process, and psychology, you can help make sure the experiences that your users are having with your brand are positive ones.