Everyone’s a UX Designer

Everyone’s a UX Designer

Written by Aaron Landry on Apr 14, 2015

User Experience (UX) is an important part of creating websites and applications. It is a skill that can bring "a better reality," but if everyone can do it why would you hire a professional to help?

To understand why a professional is the best option for UX, lets look at how we define design, what "good" design really is, and the skills a UX designer must execute to solve the problems your users and customers face everyday.

So, what is design?

Design is simply the purpose or plan of something. Design can be large or small, good or bad. There are no constraints as long as it fits the fact that it is something’s purpose or plan.

If you wake up in the morning and plan your day, then you have just designed your day. Most people design without even noticing, but just because something is designed doesn't mean it is good or bad. The determination in whether it is good or bad is based on the experience you have with the thing that is designed. This is why it is possible for you to wake up, design your day and then experience a bad day. To avoid these bad experiences, we need to look at the details.

The details are what have the potential to change a good day into a bad day or vise versa. Details are the most important part of a design because it is the details that change how someone experiences that design.

If I were to tell you "Watch out for the step." as you walk out the door, the potential of you tripping is much less than if I were to just say, "Have a good day." You might be happy as you walk out the door, but you also might fall on your face when you get there.

This example presents a problem that can be easily overlooked. We can say it’s easy put a sign up to watch your step, but did you think about why the need to watch your step even exists? The step presents a problem that, if solved, could remove the need to watch where you’re going and all you would need to focus on would be having a good day.

In the various professions of design, we spend our lives studying different ways to solve the problems everyone faces. It is our passion to find these flaws and find solutions that remove these distractions from our experience. This is why most good design goes unnoticed.

What is "Good" design?

Do you know that feeling you get when you're at a game watching your favorite team, or on a cold winter night taking your first sip of hot chocolate or when you take in the first breath of air in your brand new car? Those are things you remember because of how the experience makes you feel. Those feelings push you to make decisions and you use those feelings to determine how much you like or dislike something. Those feelings are what make up our experience.

In the various professions of design, we spend our lives studying different ways to solve the problems everyone faces. It is our passion to find these flaws and find solutions that remove these distractions from our experience. This is why most good design goes unnoticed.

When we consider our experiences we must think about who the user of those experiences are and the feelings that user has. Because feelings can change based on many different circumstances, experiences can also be changed based on the design of those circumstances. We must design circumstances that can improve a user's experience. The way a user experiences a design distinguishes a bad design from a good one for that user.

Designing User Experiences (UX)

While designing user experiences, it is the job of the designer and developer to consider the feelings the users. There are many skills and principles a UX Designer must use while creating an experience. These principles can help create a better experience because they focus on the details.

Principles of Good UX Design:

  1. Get out of the way

  2. Establish clear goals

  3. Determine user needs

  4. Create a hierarchy that matches the needs

  5. Minimize distractions

  6. Lead the user to the destination

  7. Create a path of least resistance

  8. Use context clues

  9. Be consistent

  10. Pay attention to detail

The experience can be designed by anyone from any background because we are all users, but some people can create an experience better than others due to a few personality traits. This is what separates a standard experience from a great experience.

Personality traits of a UX Designer:

  • Humility - You must be able to put your wants and needs aside to focus on the wants and needs of the users. What you think is not as important as obtaining a collective opinion of your users.

  • Empathy - You must be able to put yourself in the user’s place and see things as the user would see them. Just because you are familiar with using something a certain way, doesn't mean everyone else is too. Being empathetic towards your users is an important factor when trying to determine their needs.

  • Advocate - You must support and stand up for the views of the user and be a voice for the needs of the user.

  • Understands Psychology - You must be more concerned about WHY something is being done rather than HOW its done.

  • Organized - You must be able to distinguish organizational structures and patterns out of information and arrange it in a way that creates solutions with the least amount of friction across all users.

The difference between a good and bad design can depend on how the personality traits above are used, along with the principles of UX Design.

Wrap Up

As you can see, we all can design, be the user and experience things, but that isn't what makes good design and that doesn't make everyone good at designing user experiences. Good design is formed out of considering every little detail that can possibly be considered and determining the best solution. So next time you have a bad experience think of it as an opportunity to hire a professional and change the way you experience things.

Comments

comments powered by Disqus