What is User Experience Design? Why does it matter? Many people have absolutely no idea about what a UX Designer really does. Some have an idea, but they're wrong about the function of UX and UI. That's why we asked Maria, our UX Designer, to explain a few essential things about the field.
- What does it mean to you to be a UX Designer?
Well, for me personally, it’s the satisfaction of the work that drives me. UX Design means interesting projects, learning new things every day as well as the possibility to meet new interesting people.
- How did you get into UX Design?
I’ve been working on developing digital services and products since 2009. At the very beginning, my job was to analysing, looking for gaps and areas of need for improvement and recommending solutions. Then I also took care of strategies and roadmaps of product development. Meanwhile, I completed a few UX design training as well as I took part in workshops that helped me polish and develop my skills. In 2015 I finished post-graduate studies in UX Design.
- What is UX design? Why does it matter?
UX Design is a design process directed at user’s needs which led to achieving a useful solution. It means that the solution is understandable, easy to use and ergonomic. UX Design often refers to digital products, but it is also a matter of physical ones as well as services and public space. Creating a paper forms or marks at the airport is also a designing of user experiences.
The fact that nowadays lots of new solutions come out and the change is going very quickly makes the field becoming increasingly important. We use more and more application, websites, ticket machines, cash machines, etc. We do plenty of things and consume tons of information. The main job of UX Designer is to design all of these interfaces and mechanisms in the way we don’t have to think about how to use it. Our business is just to accomplish a task (for instance buy a ticket for a concert). A device (interface) should show us how to do it.
Technology is more and more common and available to everyone - not only for people with tech and programming skills. Moreover, new technologies represent an opportunity for elderly as well as people with disabilities. It often makes it easier and more accessible to use many services that they can not access in the “real” world. This is why the usability is so essential.
There is also an economic aspect of UX Design. Independent studies show that usefulness translates into the specific measure of the success of a website (or company). UX design is also becoming an area where companies are looking for competitive advantages.
- What are your main responsibilities and skills as a UX Designer?
On a daily basis, I provide consulting services that are related to utility and coherence of assumptions. I prepare and conduct Product Design Workshops, organise content on the Client’s website as well as plan interactions and processes. I also carry out UX audits and usability tests. Of course, I work on wireframes that are page outlines at an average level of detail. If necessary, I can also prepare prototypes of the project that can be used as a test.
- What does it mean to be a great UX Designer?
Becoming a great UX Designer take time, experience and openness to new challenges. It is a job that requires constant learning.
- What is a recipe for the successful Product Design Workshops?
The best way is being a part of group where you are free to exchange ideas and opinions while working on new solutions. This kind of work is more effective than the one in the safety of your desk. This is the reason why usually you work in interdisciplinary groups during the Product Design Workshops. It means that people from different fields such as technology, business and matters connected with end user can share their experiences and ideas. To create something good and useful from such a clash of competencies, a well-defined aim is needed. Not too many participants, pleasant atmosphere as well as the space for creative work are also necessary.
- Which tools are essential for every UX Designer?
Paper and pencil will be enough :) But usually, UX Designers also use a lot of sticky notes and all the material necessary for creative work. Prototyping software (such as Axure) is used for designing wireframes. There are also tools dedicated to usability test and analytics.
- How did UX change since its beginnings?
I think that a big step is deviating from the artificial schism between the world of online and offline. In the past, UX was associated with website designing. Currently, it is about building the whole user experience. It is one service that should be consistent whether you buy a train ticket in the ticket machine, from a driver, via the website or mobile application.
- What are some of the biggest trends in the UX Design industry right now?
Trends strongly link to the direction of technology development. This is currently creating voice interfaces, gesture-based navigation, augmented reality as well as the Internet of Things.
- What would you say is the next big trend in UX Design?
I think it will be something related to artificial intelligence :) There will be new devices that will require designing interaction competencies. The interface is also changing. Right now, it’s not just a rectangle with a specific resolution.
- Where do you get inspiration from? Who in the industry do you follow and read?
I draw inspiration from everything and everywhere :) UX a field verging on technology, psychology, art, analytics, marketing, and business… Thus, I find inspiration in adventure books as well as speciality ones, in movies, daily observations, museums, exhibitions, travels or different lectures. But to point something out, I also follow Luke Wroblewski, Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Mary Meeker, and Natalia Hatalska.