UX Design, short for User Experience Design, is the process of creating products that are meaningful and relevant to users. “User Experience Design” is often used interchangeably with terms such as “User Interface Design” and “Usability”. While usability and UI design are important aspects of UX design, they are a subset of the whole process. The entire process of a UX designer is concerned with the process of acquiring and integrating a product. This includes several key elements; branding, design, usability, and function.
Organisations are recognizing that Web, mobile and product design is more than just creating clean, well-structured code and funky graphics. Products that really work fulfill the strategic objectives of the organisation whilst meeting the needs of the users at the same time. The latest and greatest technology won't aid in the balancing of these goals without a cohesive, consistent user experience to support it.
These decisions are about how the site looks, behaves, feels, and what it allows users to accomplish. All these decisions will continually build upon themselves, informing and influencing the user experience. As per the book “The elements of user experience” by Jesse James Garrett, these decisions can be broken down into planes or phases, as per my own process. The five planes provide a conceptual framework for talking about UX problems and tools to solve them.
The surface is the series of web pages, screens, images and text that build up the user interface (UI) that we all interact with daily.
Beneath the surface is the skeleton; this plane considered the placement of buttons, images, and text. The role of the skeleton is to optimize the layout of these elements for maximum effect and efficiency.
The structure defines how our users navigate to that page they are currently interacting with, and where they will go next. The skeleton will define the arrangement of the navigation links, whereas the structure will define what those categories actually are.
Structure defines how the various features and functions of the product sit together. Exactly what these features and functions are constitutes the scope of the site.
The Scope is determined by the strategy of the product. The strategy incorporates many elements, including what the product owners want to get out of the site, and more importantly what the users want to get out of the product.