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What is UX Design?

user experience

user experience

I think it’s important to start by saying there’s no commonly accepted definition.
User experience design is a concept that has many dimensions. It includes a bunch of different disciplines such as;

  • interaction design
  • information architecture
  • visual design
  • usability
  • human-computer interaction

But let’s try to get a clearer picture of what that means.

The definition of User Experience Design

user experience

user experience

According to this study from the Oxford Journal Interacting With Computers:

UX design or user experience design in business aims to “improve customer satisfaction and loyalty through the utility, ease of use, and pleasure provided in the interaction with a product.”

In other words, UX design is the process of designing (digital or physical) products that are useful, easy to use, and delightful to interact with. It’s about enhancing people’s experience while interacting with your product and ensuring they find value in what you provide.

But unfortunately, that isn’t a comprehensive explanation of UX design either. So to help you get a better understanding of what it is, I reached out to 15 smart and talented user experience professionals and asked them:

“What is UX Design?”

user experience

user experience

Said differently: “How would you describe User Experience Design (UX design) to someone learning about it for the first time?”

Here’s what they had to say about User Experience Design:

user experience

user experience

Laura Klein
Principal at Users Know, Author of UX for Lean Startups

“If UX is the experience that a user has while interacting with your product, then UX Design is, by definition, the process by which we determine what that experience will be.

UX Design always happens. Whether it’s intentional or not, somebody makes the decisions about how the human and the product will interact. Good UX Design happens when we make these decisions in a way that understands and fulfills the needs of both our users and our business.”

Steve Portugal
Principal at Portigal Consulting, Author of Interviewing Users

“If we look at a website or a device or a piece of software, designing the user experience for that thing should be creative. The analytical process of determining what it’s going to be—what it’s going to do for people, how they’ll use it, and what it looks/sounds/feels/smells/tastes like.”

Dan Makoski
VP of Design at CapitalOne

“As Liz Sanders set me straight on over a decade ago, there is no such thing as UX Design. An experience is a personal moment felt by people, something we don’t own as Designers. However, we can design for it.

It’s a subtle but important distinction. That simple word “for” gives Designers needed humility in their craft and opens up space for a more collaborative relationship with people (by the way, the term “user” is a really narrow and somewhat offensive label of how we describe humans!).

The experience of the people we design for determines the success of the products, services, and relationships we create.”

Tomer Sharon
Senior UX Researcher at Google, Author of Validating Product Ideas through Lean User Research

“UX design is the art and science of generating positive emotions among people who interact with products or services.”
(Note: Tomer goes into more detail in this presentation. He shares a bunch of UX infographics and defines UX as “how people feel when they use something.”)

Justin Mifsud
Founder of Usability Geek

“User Experience Design (UXD or USD) is a design process whose sole objective is to design a system that offers a great experience to its users. Thus UXD embraces the theories of several disciplines such as user interface design, usability, accessibility, information architecture, and Human-Computer Interaction.

User Experience Design is practiced by User Experience Designers—particularly concerned with user interaction and the system they use.

So, for example, a UX designer would take the principles that state how to make a product accessible and embody those principles in the design process of a system so that a user that is interacting with it would find it accessible.”

Marieke McCloskey
Director of Research at UserTesting

“UX design is a commitment to building products with the customer in mind. It starts with studying who the customers are and what they need and taking that information to provide products and services that improve people’s lives.

Design ideas are validated through real customer feedback and iterated to ensure the final product will work well for those using it.”

John Amir-Abbassi
Senior User Researcher at Dropbox

“Your question is simple, the answer a little complicated, and it sometimes can be controversial.

User Experience Design is an approach to design that considers all aspects of a product or service with the user. That includes the beauty and function (usability and accessibility) of a product or a flow and things like delight and emotion—harder to engineer and achieve.

While a designer can create a toggle, a flow, or an interaction that is beautiful, unique, sexy, and functional in a flow—UXD extends into all the disciplines that come together to make the user experience great.
Content strategists, information architects, user researchers, engineers, and product managers have a shared responsibility to create an experience that is easy to use and leaves users pleased because it is adding value to them.”

Paul Boag
UX Consultant of Boatworks

“UX design is so much more than just designing for a screen. The user experience is impacted by decisions made across an organization, from the boardroom to how a developer codes for performance.

Take, for example, the new Disney Magicband. This doesn’t have a graphic user interface and creates an amazing experience using sensors and well-implemented customer service.”

John Amir-Abbassi
Senior User Researcher at Dropbox

“Your question is simple, the answer a little complicated, and it sometimes can be controversial.
User Experience Design is an approach to design that considers all aspects of a product or service with the user. That includes the beauty and function: (usability and accessibility) of a product or a flow and things like delight and emotion—things that are harder to engineer and achieve.

While a designer can create a toggle, a flow, or an interaction that is beautiful, unique, sexy, and functional in a flow—UXD extends into all the disciplines that come together to make the user experience great.

Yes, you have interaction designers, but you also have content strategists, information architects, user researchers, engineers, and product managers—all of whom have a shared responsibility to create an experience that is easy to use and leaves users pleased because it is adding value to them.”

Paul Boag
UX Consultant of Boatworks

“UX design is so much more than just designing for a screen. The user experience is impacted by decisions made across an organization, from the boardroom to how a developer codes for performance.

Take, for example, the new Disney Magicband. This doesn’t have a graphic user interface and creates an amazing experience using sensors and well-implemented customer service.”

Joshua Porter
Co-founder of Rocket Insights, Founder of Bokardo

“UX Design is designed with an awareness of all the touchpoints that comprise the overall experience with your product/service. So it goes beyond the screen and visual design to email correspondence, how people answer phones, marketing messages, return policies, release notes and everything in between.

Focusing on the entire Internet Age experience is critical because you will likely never meet many of your customers face-to-face. Eventually, the letters “UX” will fade away, and you will understand that all these things are part of designing any product or service.”

Dan Trenkner
Art Director at Digital Telepathy

“UX design is a design methodology rooted in a deep understanding of users with an end goal of providing solutions that align to the desired experience.

The term UX carries digital implications and is usually associated with web and mobile applications.”

Emily Stewart
Designer at UserTesting

“UX design is the value you deliver at every touchpoint.

These negative or positive values are stitched together to shape a user’s perception of the product.”

Whitney Hess
Experience Design Coach at WhitneyHess.com

“User Experience is a commitment to developing products and services with purpose, compassion, and integrity. It is the never-ending process of seeing the world from the customers’ perspective and improving the quality of their lives.
It is the never-ending process of maintaining the business’s health and finding new ways to help it grow sustainably. It is the perfect balance between making money and making meaning.”

(Note: If you want to read about Whitney’s take on user experience, check out this article.)

Brent Summers
Director of Marketing at Digital Telepathy

“User experience design is the process of understanding someone’s needs, mental or emotional state, and technical prowess, then designing a solution that considers that information.

UX prioritizes utility and is intended to create a positive emotional response whenever someone engages with a product.”

Erik Levitch
UX Consultant at Erik Levitch Consulting

“User experience is the practice of ensuring people’s needs are met before, during, and after product development. It’s about making stuff easier for people to use.”

Reed Jones
User Researcher at StubHub

“Many people state cannot design that experience because experiences are something people have—not something that can design. On the one hand, I completely agree.

On the other hand, UX enables us to identify what makes a good experience versus a bad one. And when done well, the designed elements of an experience become invisible, and the user is delighted because we have anticipated their needs to give them something they don’t think to ask for.”

Bonus: There is no such thing as “UX Design.”

Peter Merholz
Senior Director of Design at Jawbone

“There is no such thing as ‘UX Design.’ When they use that phrase, most people mean interaction design + information architecture. Some include research and strategy, and others include visual design and prototyping.

Its variable definition only confuses and disservice those trying to understand how research, strategy, and design contribute to delivering great user experiences.”

Source: UserTesting

In Summary

  • UX design is the process used to determine what the experience will be like when a user interacts with your product.

  • The creative and analytical process of determining what a website, device, or piece of software will be.

  • You can’t design experiences, but you can design for them.

  • UX design is the art and science of generating positive emotions through product interactions.

  • It’s a process for designing systems that offer a great experience to users.

  • UX design is a commitment to building products with the customer in mind.

  • It’s an approach to design that takes the user into account.

  • UX design is so much more than just designing for a screen.

  • It’s designed with an awareness of every touchpoint that makes up the overall experience with your product or service.

  • It’s a design methodology rooted in a deep understanding of the user.

  • UX design is the value you deliver at every touchpoint.

  • It’s a commitment to developing products and services with purpose, compassion, and integrity.

  • UX design is designing a solution that considers all the user’s needs.

  • It’s the practice of meeting people’s needs before, during, and after product development.

  • UX design is about delighting users by anticipating their needs and giving them something they didn’t think to ask for.

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About Us

Our mission is to provide you with the tools and services necessary to improve your business results through social media.

Search Here

Face Images

Testimonials

LSI helped ITBuild create an elegant and efficient website. Our site reflects who we are and the great services we provide. It user friendly, stylish and rnodern. LSI Media views our business as their own and we have been extremely happy with the service and partnership we’ve created with them. I would highly recommend LSI.

Andre snowden, President | ITBuilding Consulting

LSI helped ITBuild create an elegant and efficient website. Our site reflects who we are and the great services we provide. It user friendly, stylish and rnodern. LSI Media views our business as their own and we have been extremely happy with the service and partnership we’ve created with them. I would highly recommend LSI.

Melissa Mullins, Marketing Manager | Hendsoldt Inc

We have worked with LSI Media since 2014 and we received many compliments on our website design and functionality. LSI Media views our business as their own and we have been extremely happy with the service and partnership we’ve created with them.

Jordan Ahmad, Direct of Business Development | FAITH Social Services

LSI helped Rebecca’s Dream create a well-designed and functional website. Our site reflects who we are and the great work we do. It’s easy to use, visually pleasing, and modern. LSI has also assisted us with curated content for the website and social media along with newsletter design. They have been responsive, friendly, reliable, creative and supportive to our goals, mission and efforts as a non profit. I would highly recommend LSI.

Kathleen Illes, Director | Rebecca's Dream

LSI helped ITBuild create an elegant and efficient website. Our site reflects who we are and the great services we provide. It user friendly, stylish and rnodern. LSI Media views our business as their own and we have been extremely happy with the service and partnership we’ve created with them. I would highly recommend LSI.

Raj Lingam , President, IndraSoft Inc.