User Experience (UX) was once a buzzword in digital speak, but today, the ability to identify user problems and solve usability issues is integral to any successful product or digital experience. As more businesses recognise the value of their User Experience (UX) Design, industries around Australia are looking for ways to improve the development and evolution of user experience.
What does a UX Designer actually do?
UX Designers aim to design experiences that create delightful product experiences for the end user. With a thoughtful blend of analytical skills, creativity, and a willingness to adapt to new learnings, the capabilities of a UX Designer can span anywhere from research and prototyping to designing and pitching. See our top 5 UX Design principles that UX Designers should follow.
Read more about what User Experience Design involves and why it’s important.
Characteristics of a UX Designer:
- Driven by insights
- Relies on human-centred research
- Adept at usability testing
- Willing to wireframe and prototype
- Analytical and empathetic
A day in the life of a UX Designer
After a strong cup of coffee in the morning, the UX Designer gets straight into their user research. Understanding the user is typically the first step in designing user-centric features. When designing for a users’ experience, the research phase of UX Design aims to reduce and remove assumptions from the decision-making process. A UX Designer starts by defining a problem statement, which eventually forms a hypothesis about a user. This hypothesis is continually tested and refined.
Articulate the user’s problem that should be addressed and solved. It usually contains a hindrance or problem that affects a user’s ability to perform the desired action on site. As part of the research phase, a UX Designer conducts interviews, undertakes competitive analysis, and surveys to determine the behaviour, goals, motivations, and needs of their target users.
Based on qualitative data from user research, the UX Designer often spends time creating personas or archetypes that are representative of its users. When a persona has been identified and created, UX Designers adapt and develop scenarios to flesh out the motivations, pain points, desires, and needs of that particular persona. This helps the designer to visually communicate their research to key stakeholders.
User persona refers to an archetype or fictional representation of people researched. Personas will typically represent a group of people with similar traits or behaviours. Read more about creating user personas.
Becoming an (Information) Architect
Upon swapping offices for a day, a UX Designer becomes an Information Architect (IA) – equipped with an idea of who they’re designing for. It’s at this stage, where the UX Designer begins to shape a product solution. UX Designers are integral in forming the elements of a website’s information architecture and it’s here where UX Designers cross paths with Web Developers, Graphic Designers and Digital Marketers.
IA includes the structure and organisation of a website’s information environment including its page navigation path. The IA is the backbone of a website including elements such as the navigation, hierarchy, and categories that allow users to see where they are, the information they need, and how to get to their desired path.
Wireframing and prototyping
Here comes the fun part. After lunch, a UX Designer may start the build and design process. This begins with a simple wireframe. Wireframing is the creation of a product feature or design using representations that act as a guide. Think of this as architectural blueprints that contain simple User Interaction (UI) elements or placeholders. Wireframes are followed by prototypes, which flesh out more of the elements that the user will interact with including the content and interactive options on the prototype’s interface.
Tip: Popular programs found within the UX Designers toolkit include: Sketch, InVision, Axure, and Adobe XD
Testing and Iterating
UX Designers are always on the move – testing and reiterating a product. Through a combination of in-person or electronic tests, the UX Designer will look for feedback and assess the behaviour of a user as they interact with a new function or feature. Based on verbal or non-verbal feedback, a UX Designer will integrate updates and new features of a design to ensure a seamless user journey. Read more about the dos and don’ts of usability testing.
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