Recap and Road Ahead
Welcome to the last lesson of this course!
In our last email, we looked at the core disciplines of UX Design and the different hats a designer may wear depending on their skills and experience.
This final email will recap key concepts you have learned.
Design is a process to create or improve a product or service that solves a problem or addresses a need of businesses and users. It is not a random “creative” activity, but a process. There is a science and an art to it, and the process can be adapted as needed. There is also a problem that needs to be solved or a need that has to be met. And finally, design benefits both the business (people who pay for the design with the goal of making or saving money) and their users (who actually use the design).
Good design is good for business, and companies that focus on design have shown better results than others. A design is considered good if it is useful, usable, and desirable for users.
User experience (UX) includes everything that a user feels, thinks, and perceives before, during, and after interacting with a product, service, or brand. We can control and design good user experiences using a User-Centered Design process.
User-Centered Design (UCD) keeps the user actively involved in the entire design process. We begin with User Research, then create or improve the experience through UX Design and validate the experience with users by building prototypes. These steps will help us make sure we are designing the right experience for our users.
User Research is about observing users in their environment to understand their pain points and workarounds. We translate those findings into representative user profiles called personas and customer journey maps that help make it more real for the project team and clients.
UX Design creates the underlying foundation, such as the information architecture, navigation, and interaction design that make it easy to use the interface. There’s also creative design that includes branding and visual design. This is the visceral part of the user interface that clients are looking for when they ask for something that looks “cool,” “sexy,” or “like Apple.” Let’s not forget content, which can drive a person to take action.
Validation is when we test to see if our design meets the needs of the users we have been focusing on. We do this by showing users prototypes of our designs, which could range anywhere on the spectrum of a rough sketch to realistic and interactive prototypes that people can click through.
Core disciplines of UX Design are: User Research, content strategy, information architecture, interaction design, visual design, and UX engineering.
Good design takes a mix of skills from each discipline. Usability is assumed to be an active component of each discipline.
Congratulations! Over the past few days, you have been introduced to the fundamentals of design and user experience. You may catch yourself consciously or subconsciously being more aware of design all around you, not just in digital interfaces. And if you interact with designers at work, you will be aware of the design process and the people involved in designing great user experiences.
If you would like to learn more about design and user experience, check out the websites in the resources below.
Here’s to continuing to exercise your design eye!
Usability.gov: This is a good starting point covering the basics, templates, and guidelines.
Nngroup.com: Articles by Nielsen Norman Group are a good way to keep up with current issues in web usability.
Articles.uie.com: This is similar to the link above, but by User Interface Engineering.
Smashingmagazine.com: This is an online magazine for beginners and experienced practitioners.
Uxbooth.com: This is another online magazine to keep up to date with.
Alistapart.com: Dig into the design, process, and user science areas.
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