UX (User Experience) design is one of those things that is easier to recognize in its negative state than in the positive. You’ve probably experienced things that were frustrating to use, from websites and apps that didn’t work the way you thought they should, to appliances that were hard to figure out, or even doors that looked like you should pull when you needed to push. These are all examples of poor UX design.
UX design focuses on what users need, what they value, and what their abilities and limitations are. It stands at the intersection between the experiences of users and the desires of businesses. UX is made up of many interconnected disciplines like psychology, visual design, programming, interactive design, and accessibility and accommodation.
What Do UX Designers do?
UX Designers do a variety of tasks depending upon the situation. UX Designers need to find out what users want, then create a design that meets the needs of the users and the business or client the designer is working for. Designers create fictional personas of users and mockups of products or websites. They analyze data they have collected, and they also give presentations and workshops to other members of the design team and to clients. Finally, designers test the product or website to see if it works the way it was expected to, and the process begins again. Designers are always looking to create the best user experience possible.
The UX Design Process
The UX design process is based on the questions why, how, and what. The process starts with research to discover why the user experience is what it is. The goal of this phase is to understand what the user wants from the experience. The designer conducts surveys and interviews to discover the motivation and goals of users.
The definition phase involves using the data collected along with analytics to create a detailed description of the user experience. This phase involves creating user personas, flowcharts, and mapping to uncover patterns and trends.
Once the patterns emerge, design enters the third phase in which team members generate ideas about how to solve problems and improve the experience. A rough sketch of the product is developed, and from that come wireframes and prototypes.
The next phase is testing the product or website to see the user experience is what was expected. Depending upon the test results, there may be a redesign phase to improve the experience further.
Qualities of UX Designers
Some qualities that successful UX Designers exhibit are empathy, curiosity, humility, attention to detail, meticulousness, organization, attentiveness, and the ability to communicate well. UX Designers need to imagine themselves in the users’ position so they can determine the best solutions for the particular problem.
As a UX Designer, you need to love solving problems and puzzles and be fascinated by people and why they do what they do. You need to be good at collaborating with others and working as a team to figure things out. You need to conduct research, analyze the data, and write reports as well as present your findings at workshops and meetings. You also need to be able to create wireframes and prototypes of websites and products.
What Apps and Tools Do UX Designers Use?
UX Designers use different types of software in their work. These tools allow them to design mobile apps and websites often without having to do any coding. Some of the most common are listed below.
Adobe XD is a design tool based on vector graphics that allows you to create digital designs for everything from mobile apps to websites. XD is part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud and works well with other CC apps like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Animate. There are many repeating features that make your workflow move faster, and XD also includes collaboration features that make it easy to share and test prototypes. You can run XD on both macOS and Windows.
Sketch is a Mac application that doesn’t work on Windows. You can use vector editing tools or design at the pixel level. It allows you to scale to any screen size and speed up your workflow with mathematical shortcuts. As with XD, there are repeatable components and you can organize your design so everything is easy to find. Sketch recently added real-time collaboration, so now it is easier for a team to work together, and you can also create libraries of the elements the team is using. There are also many plugins available to customize your workspace.
InVision works to support the design process from brainstorming and collaborating with Freehand, or prototyping with Cloud, or designing with Studio. You can create design libraries for the team. InVision works on the web, Android phones, and on iPhones.
Figma is another design application. It includes FigJam which provides an online whiteboard for collaboration to let your design team plan, define, and workshop together. You can use the pen tool for vector graphics or plugins like an instant arc design. Auto Layout moves and stretches items automatically, and Figma makes the work move along efficiently. Figma runs on a browser so it will work with macOS, Windows, or Linux systems.
How to Learn UX Design
If you would like to learn how to use software like Adobe XD in order to switch to a career in UX design, one of the best ways to do that is to sign up for classes. You can choose classes that meet in-person or online to learn XD, Photoshop, and Illustrator. Some people prefer to attend brick-and-mortar sessions when learning new information, but that isn’t always available. Live online classes have a similar set-up with a real-time, remote instructor who can answer questions and take control of your monitor—with permission—to show you how to do things. Training is part or full-time and available weekdays, weeknights, or weekends.
The best way to prepare for a career shift to a field like UX design is to enroll in a bootcamp or certificate program. These are intensive training courses that run from a few weeks to a few months and will cover the design process and software in much more depth than tutorials can. Another plus of training is that you will leave class with a professional-quality portfolio that you can show to prospective employers.
It’s easy to take UX design classes and start a new career. Choose between in-person sessions in NYC at Noble’s location or sign up for live online UX design courses and attend from anywhere. Find UX bootcamps in your area and get started in a new direction today.