About UX design

About User Experience (UX) Design

UX design requires a listening attitude and an openness to new ideas. It’s a method that requires thinking like an artist as well as a scientist.

UX is about solving problems, the conundrums that keep a business owner up at night. Or the problems your website visitors have that you don’t know about. Digital products are especially prone to such intangibles. UX is the thinking behind the visual design. It’s often invisible work, done “under the hood,” but the results are what makes the engine run smoothly.

The solution is simple to describe, but hard to do: listening to understand people who are different from you. It’s personal experience that counts because peoples’ thinking is very hard to change. The insights are hiding in the minds of those users.

Even the best designers can’t get this data by sitting at their desk. UX designers often talk about “getting out of the building,” listen to your audience, and do it in a real context.

The key to success is gaining insights about the people who will be using your product. Your website works because it solves problems people have, people can easily use it, and they leave feeling satisfied. Hiring a user experience (UX) designer is like having a Sherlock Holmes on your team—except that fortunately Mr. Holmes has now developed some emotional intelligence.

The UX hierarchy of needs

This is my version of the UX pyramid, a combination of ideas from many designers. It has its limits because the design process is not really linear. But I find it very useful when explaining UX design. I sit and contemplate this diagram every once in a while to refresh my thoughts.

The hierarchy of needs for user-centered-design
The hierarchy of needs for user-centered-design (after Maslow, Stephen P. Anderson, and other UX designers)