UX is What?! Using UX and UXD for Digital Problem Solving.

Elin-Alexander Elin Alexander | March 14, 2017 Comments
User-Experience

 

Recently, I attended a conference about user experience, UX for short. The subject matter for each session involved broader topics than I anticipated, which altered my notion of what UX is. Some of these questionable topics were: Research Analysis as in creating surveys and data, ImprovUX as in off-the-cut theater, The Benefits of Failure which speaks for itself and Cartography, which is the art of map making. You could see why I would be confused, right?

During the lectures, I wanted to be an active participant to get as much out of the conference. I attentively sat in the front row, eagerly jotted down notes, and asked the lecturers engaging questions. After the event, I reflected on the experience and was dumbfounded that I was far more confused about what UX was than when I started. I quickly realized that UX is not only about wireframing and user-flow like I had previously thought, but more broadly the experience of human interaction. Surely I was not the only one trying to connect the dots of the lecture topics to UX.

On a war path, with my own mind, I fully wanted to comprehend what UX is versus my prior notions. In my research, as I mentioned before, UX is general and it’s about human interactions. What I was actively seeking to learn was a sector of UX called user experience design, UXD for short. UXD is a branch off of UX, it is about visually creating interactive experiences through interfaces that are inherently tactile (ie. Wireframing).

Now that I’ve shed light on the connection of UX and UXD, how can the knowledge of the two be applied to a better approach to solutions for digital projects that in the endgame improve experience for the customer, consumer or client?

Step One. Think. Think. Think UX
Back to the basics of UX. Before we design for UX, how do we think in a user oriented way for a project that requires digital solutions?

  1. Visualize the project as a whole by following the steps below.
  2. Research the audience and the subjects associated with the project.
  3. Gather materials for the project and categorize them.
  4. Challenge the problems with the project. Identify obvious and obscure problems.
  5. Carry Out the task creating smart solutions.
  6. Empathize with the user for their easy navigation in experience.
  7. Refine the project before finalizing.
  8. Commit to the work and repeat the steps with the next project.

Step Two. Visualize. Visualize. Visualize UXD
As a refresher, user experience design is creating a digital product that offers easy usability. Use the steps above in conjunction with UXD systems of organization.

  1. Calls-to-action to identify where the user should go.
  2. Content collection. Have messaging that's specific to the subject.
  3. Typography & Visuals should represent the audience, subject and or content.
  4. User Interface that incorporates branding, accessibility and elemnts that alert the user of an interaction (ex. Micro-Interactions).
  5. Hierarchy - organize the importance of information.
  6. Layout - wireframe or draft the visual/s using the collected information.
  7. Refine the project before finalizing.
  8. Commit to the work and repeat the steps with the next project.

UX and UXD pushes us to not just think about our own responses to interaction but to challenge ourselves to think about the audience and their needs. By applying the techniques and overall idea of UX/UXD, it broadens our viewpoint of the operator, thereby aiding to comprehension and empathy of the subject –ultimately promoting successful solutions.

How can you apply this to your job?
Workforce roles that typically fall under the UX umbrella are: Visual Designer, Interactive Motion Design, UX Architect and Research. All of the steps listed are tools for thought when working through a project and they can be utilized by anyone that deals with creating solutions for digital users.

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