You are a UX designer, you just don’t know it yet
Ever wondered what UX/UI is or what it stands for? Even after you find out what it stands for you still ponder what it really is, what do you do, does it involve chasing people down and kindly harassing intel out of them?
You may be wondering who I am and what I do for a living for me to claim in the headline that everyone is a UX designer. My name is Freddie, a South African based UX/UI designer and I love the simple things in life (with an entire bottle of extreme served with it). I am a foodie, photographer, gamer, travel enthusiast, and did I mention foodie?
So onto the definition of UX/UI. The acronyms stand for user experience/user interface. Honestly speaking, the ‘/’ in-between UX/UI can make it a tad bit confusing. They are both user orientated but they are different. However, the two flow very well together hence the / makes them seem like they fought but don’t really want to leave each other.
User Experience aka UX is the understanding of peoples goals, motives, and conditions when performing a task.
As you can see in the diagram above, the ‘self’ needs some kind of motive to perform a task. Within that task, there’s a goal you’re trying to achieve, but during that process, you might face obstacles that make performing or completing that task a bit challenging, making it difficult to reach your goal.
UX leans more towards research. It’s trying to understand who you’re building your product for, what those people are trying to achieve, and why are they trying to achieve this. Also what could possibly stop them from achieving what they want. The last thing you want is building something that only you understand and enjoy using when in actual fact you intended to build for a market.
Now, User Interface aka UI is a bit different from UX. UI is more visual orientated. As the saying goes ‘You eat with your eyes first’. If the food looks good, you are more inclined to want to eat it. How it appeals to the eye is important.
Ever sat through a lecture with 300 slides for 3–4 hours and all you just see is words, words, an endless sea of words. You eventually start hoping to see some images, pictures — anything to break the monotony of all the text. In today’s world, individuals are more prone to remembering content more effectively if it is visual or accompanied by a visual cue. This is the basis of UI.
The aim is to break down heavy content and make it look pleasing to the eye. There’s a number of ways to achieve this by using elements of design and your knowledge of different mediums. This is not only limited to digital products but expands to fashion, interior, culinary, and to even the most ordinary objects/products/services we use every day.
First impressions are everlasting right?
The Grand Tour (Amazon Prime Series)
Right now you’re probably asking “That’s all well and good, but how am I a UX designer again?”
UX is not just some fancy term made up for designers. Okay, maybe the word User Experience but the concept of understanding people has been there longer than we know. Think of UX as being a psychologist of design, essentially you’re trying to get into your consumers/users head to better understand their thinking.
One thing a lot of people don’t know is that they have some sort of UX knowledge which they don’t essentially call UX. Take musicians/producers, for instance, I listen to EDM and the best DJs travel the globe providing an amazing experience to people through music.
Now call me a noob for asking this but who on earth would pay for something they can listen to on their mobile device or stream on YouTube? The whole idea behind music concerts is to provide that amazing UX. The thrill of having to go through the process of buying your ticket online, waiting till the day, and partying till the midnight rain. Now DJs/producers/musicians don’t really call this UX.
In the music world, it’s well known as euphoria. The whole idea is to provide a pleasurable experience to individuals, such as that heavenly feeling you get when you sink your teeth into the most glorious dish you’ve ever tasted. We all have something that makes us crumble and say, ‘Now that was amazing’.
No Youtube video or a downloaded song can match the experience you get when you’re within that crowd and your favourite Dj is playing your jam and all the right things are coming together and you’re just like ‘damn’.
Right now I'm listening to the soundtrack of Blade Runner 2094 ‘Mesa’ and I must say, film producers and sound engineers really know how to captivate people.
Everything we do in our everyday lives, the products and services we interact with all have components of UX. Someone/people out there took the time to sit and think, ‘What will make achieving that goal that much easier?’.
Let’s be honest, if you had a goal and two choices in completing that goal, the easier route, and the harder route, any sane person will pick the easier route. (Unless you’re me, then you’d create your own third choice from thin air and make people gasp and wonder whether you’re the root of craziness or if you’re conjuring up sorcery.)
The experience you give to one is everlasting whether through a product or service. The idea behind it is to gain trust with your consumers/clients. For a cook, it will be through his/her food, a lawyer, through their reputation of won cases, an architect, through their grand structural designs. As for me, well, I love sharing what I do best. Design, culture, food, and photography.
So ask yourself, after reading this, are you a UX designer? I’d love to hear your thoughts.