What is User Experience?
User experience refers to a person’s emotions and attitudes about using a particular product, system, or service. It involves a practical, experiential, effective, meaningful and valuable human-computer interaction and product ownership.
UX is psychological as it focuses on the deep understanding of users, what they need, how they value aspects of your offering as well as their limitations to relate to products, services or technology. At its core UX is about making sure your user finds value in everything you are providing to them.
The below graphic highlights the necessary components of a stunning User experience.
These criteria work hand-in-hand to deliver the optimal experience to the end-user. In today’s digital driven world there are infinite websites, apps, social media and content at our fingertips, more than ever before, and this increase has occurred significantly over the last decade.
The need for user experience support on web-based projects (such as websites, eCommerce sites, and landing pages), advertising campaigns (such as banners, email campaigns, video game, surveys, and social networks), and client-side applications (such as mobile apps) is at an all-time high, making UX one of the most lucrative career options in a growing industry.
If you are interested in making a shift in your career toward UX, now is a great time to take that leap and here are a couple of options that you probably never considered:
- User Research: The main role of a User Researcher is to understand user behaviors, needs, and motivations through observation techniques, task analysis, and other feedback methodologies. It can be succinctly described as the process of understanding the impact of design on an audience. As a User Researcher, you would conduct user and task analysis to identify areas for improvement in the overall user experience and compile your findings to make meaningful and actionable recommendations to the design/development team.
- Usability Analyst: The primary focus of a Usability Analyst is to understand what the customer experiences as they interact with an app, software, website or other product/service. Usability Analysts are crucial to ensuring customer satisfaction and increasing sales. As a Usability Analyst, you would interact with and evaluate what makes a website or other product function well and what could be done to improve the experience of the end user. Your findings are typically shared with the entire UX team and are used to back up design decisions.
- Information Architect: As an Information Architect, you would organise and create structure within the content of a website or application to ensure the user feels comfortable navigating and executing actions that they want to. You would not only focus on the target of the audience of the website or application but also on the type of product or service you offer to generate the wireframes and sitemaps that ensure a positive user experience.
- Interaction Designer: The role of an Interaction Designer is to focus on creating engaging interfaces, an understanding of user-technology interaction is crucial for this role as it informs how someone might interact with the system and enable you to solve problems early.
- Visual Designer: The role of a Visual Designer is to focus on the aesthetics of a site or application and strategically implement images, colors, fonts, and other visual elements. If you have a creative side this job is a perfect match for you. As a Visual Designer, you would be responsible for the graphical user interface of a given website or application, keeping in mind that successful visual design does not take away from the content on the page or the page’s function. Visual design enhances the content by engaging users and building trust in the brand.
- UX Designer: User Experience Designers are often jacks-of-all-trades within the user-centered design process. A UX designer, drives the development and communication of the user design process for a given project. They participate in the research, analysis, development and testing phases of the design process and are a critical aspect of any product or website.
- User Experience Writer: UX writing is the art of crafting the texts that appear throughout the interface of digital products. This includes text on buttons, error messages, user onboarding. A User Experience writer aims to guide the user through the interface in an intuitive manner using text.
As you can see there are multiple options for a career in UX and with our day-to-day lives being consumed by technology from smartphones to wearable devices and voice based assistants, strong UX is more necessary than ever. Interestingly, UX is a career that fosters expansion, a data-driven marketer is likely to enjoy a User Researcher role and a graphic designer could expand their skills and work as an Interaction Designer or Visual designer. Whether you are a data-driven marketer more interested in research and analysis or a creative designer who loves to make things function, take the leap and get yourself involved in UX, it may just change your career forever.