Designing UX & UI - Mindset of a User Experience & User Interface Designer
It’s all about research, user testing, empathy, problem solving and creating. When you have made your design decisions you breath for a moment and you start the same round again to improve the product you are working on. Do you think you have the right mindset to do this? I personally as a UX & UI Designer think it’s fun and creative!
When I mention my work people often ask me: “What does UX & UI mean?” These terms are mainly used in Digital Design when working on applications, websites, platforms, devices and similar products. Then again Service Design is a more holistic approach for user experience, e.g. it can define the lightning and furniture in a venue as well as the tone of customer service (i.e. Customer eXperience) and the visual signs and the layout.
UX is an abbreviation for User eXperience Design and you might also see UED in use. UI comes from User Interface Design. Basically User Experience is how it feels like to use a digital product and User Interface is about how it looks like. These two shouldn’t be confused with Graphic Design. Graphic Designer can create the assets (fonts, colours, icons etc.) that we use when designing User eXperience and User Interface, though a Graphic Designer can also work as a UX & UI Designer. Before making the final designs UX & UI can basically just be drawn by pen and paper, and the visual assets can be implemented on the designs later on.
User eXperience and User Interface walk hand-in-hand
Often it’s the same person who is designing both UX & UI. These both can overlap and sometimes even I find it hard where to separate them. For me personally it’s easier to focus on thinking more holistically and design them simultaneously. I often define UX being more like the flow of the user journey and UI is about how appealing this experience is visually. So when you tap or click through the journey, e.g. the buttons are the UI but the same time it’s a part of journey.
What kind of a mindset does a UX & UI Designer have?
When designers are working on user experience and user interface they need to have emphatic mindset and ability to think logically. It’s also important to enjoy problem solving as you need to make the best possible design decisions to suit various user needs. The struggle is that it’s impossible to please all the different types of users. UX design requires research and user testing to understand different kinds of user but it’s also about trusting your own instinct as a designer - after all you are a user yourself. Sometimes you make decision based on the visuality and sometimes based on the importance of the content. For example if you need to give important information to the user you might have to state it on your design with an informative text even if it doesn’t look beautiful. But that’s how you can deliver your message even to the users who are not that intuitive users of technology. Empathy is the key!
Where to study?
I have studied Digital Business at Hyper Island in Stockholm. I graduated from the Design Lead Program in June 2017. Since 2019 Hyper Island has had a UX Designer Program. I’m sure you can find other Universities where to study these skills. Google is your friend. ;)
Text by Anna Keski-Kohtamäki / Kay Kay Design, 7 May 2019