To be honest, I had never heard the word "UX design" before I joined interfacewerk (shame on me!). So I was neither familiar with user-centred product development nor with the processes behind UX design. I thought the interfacewerk team was more like a software development team (I was really clueless back then 😅).
But it was this word that kept coming up: "UX Design". We have several UX designers in our team, we offer UX design as a service, we do UX design workshops. We work internally according to UX design standards.
But actually, it took me months to understand what UX design is really about (and I'm still learning!). So I want to share some UX design basics+learnings that I wish I had known before I started working in this field.
1. users first
UX design is derived from UX (=user experience), which in turn is derived from U (=user). It puts the user at the centre of everything. And to be honest, before I came to interfacewerk, I never thought about it: products are actually there to serve me (as a user).
And they should be designed to match my natural intuition, be self-explanatory and easy to use.
It was a total change of consciousness when I understood that bad user interfaces are the source of errors and not me "just not getting it". And what I didn't know: UX design is there to avoid this feeling of being frustrated and not understanding a product.
2. decision-making through UX design
UX design is a way to develop all kinds of products and services whenever user experience is part of it. It includes HOW products are made, but also WHETHER certain products are worth creating.
So with UX design, you can not only develop something new efficiently, but also decide in advance whether you should develop the product.
3. experiments and Lean UX
What I really overlooked in the beginning is that a UX design process is also a knowledge generating process (Lean UX). To know if you should develop something (whatever it is: a product, a new marketing campaign, an ad...), you have this experimentation circle.
By engaging in small experiments, one iteratively arrives at the result or the solution to the problem. From this, a strategy can be derived. With a scientific approach. Without being in the dark. Isn't that great?
But what is the point of UX design now?
Now that I understood what UX design means and what it aims at, there was one thing I still didn't know. What is the actual benefit of UX design for product development?
It wasn't until I researched real data and statistics about the benefits of a good user experience, and it wasn't until I wrote this article (with the support of my colleague Anna!) that I realised the full implications of good user experience. Much faster and more efficient software development, lower error rates leading to much faster operation, satisfied customers and referrals were just some of the benefits I want to mention here.
5. even a few basics are helpful
Knowing some UX design basics is useful. I don't want to say that the basics are enough to be a good UX designer. I would be out of my depth if I had to design a working user interface. But I can say that the basics are enough to improve processes, generate knowledge, prototype ideas, and not lose sight of users in everything you do.