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What is UX Design? {2023 Complete Guide to User Experience}

Updated: Jan 19


You might have heard of UX design before, but what does it mean? UX design is short for user experience design, and it's a process of creating digital products that are easy and enjoyable to use.

Think about the last time you used an app or website poorly designed. Maybe it was hard to find what you were looking for, or the layout needed to be more apparent. Perhaps the buttons were difficult to click on, or the required text was more significant to read. Chances are, you weren't delighted with that experience.

On the other hand, think about the last time you used an app or website that was well-designed. Finding what you were looking for could be easy, or the layout was clear and straightforward.

Maybe the buttons were big and easy to click on, or the text was large and easy to read. Chances are, you were a lot happier with that experience.

That's what UX design is all about: ensuring your users have a positive experience when interacting with your product.

What is User Experience (UX)?

User experience (UX) design is the process of creating products that are useful, easy to use, and delightful to interact with. It's about considering the needs of the people using your product and ensuring they have a good experience.

UX design is a complex and multi-faceted field, but at its heart, it's all about understanding people. You need to be able to understand their needs, their frustrations, and what makes them happy. Then, it would help if you translated that understanding into designs that meet those needs and make them happy.

The History of UX

To understand UX design, we first need to look at its history.

UX design has been around for a long time, but it was only sometimes called that. It started as human-computer interaction (HCI), focusing on how people interact with computers. In the early days, it was all about ensuring that computers were easy to use and that people could understand how to make them do what they wanted.

As computers and technology became more complex, so too did HCI. It began to focus on more than just usability—it also looked at how people feel when using technology. This new focus led to the term "UX design."

UX design is all about creating a user-friendly experience for people when they're using your product. It's about ensuring they can understand how to use it and have an excellent overall experience.

What is UX Design?

UX design is designing products that are easy and pleasing to use. It's a relatively new field, but it's already gained much traction due to the growing popularity of digital products.

UX designers focus on the user's experience when using a product. They think about how easy it is to navigate, how intuitive the controls are, and how satisfying it is to use. By ensuring the user has a good experience, UX designers can help ensure that the product is successful.

What is User Interface Design?

User Interface Design, or UI design, is about how a product's interfaces look and feel. This includes everything from buttons and icons to dropdown menus and sliders.

UI design is vital to the user experience because it's what the user interacts with. A good UI can make a product easy to use, while a lousy UI can make it hard to use (and even frustrating).

When it comes to web design, UI elements include things like navigation menus, search boxes, buttons, and form fields. For apps, UI elements include icons, tabs, and dialog boxes.

A good rule of thumb for UI design is that less is more. That is, you want to make sure the user is aware of the options and information. The goal should be to keep things simple and intuitive so the user can easily find what they're looking for and know how to use the product.

The Principles of UX Design

There are four fundamental principles that you need to keep in mind when you're designing anything, and they are:

- Visibility: Users should be able to see what they need to do to interact with your product.

- Affordance: The design should clarify how users can interact with your product.

- Feedback: Users should receive feedback after taking action to know what happened as a result.

- Constraints: There should be limits on what users can do to prevent them from getting lost or overwhelmed.

Following these principles will help you create a design that is both effective and intuitive for users.

What is Design Thinking Process?

The Design Thinking process is a user-centered approach to problem-solving in user experience (UX) design. It typically involves the following steps:

  1. Empathize: Understand the user's needs, goals, and pain points through research and observation.

  2. Define: Clearly define the problem or opportunity by synthesizing insights from the empathy phase.

  3. Ideate: Generate a wide variety of ideas and solutions to the problem or opportunity.

  4. Prototype: Rapidly create a tangible representation of the best ideas to test with users.

  5. Test: Gather feedback on the prototype from users and iterate based on their feedback.

This process is iterative and not linear, meaning that the designer can go back to previous stages to make changes or incorporate new information. The goal is to create a solution that meets the needs and goals of the user while also being feasible and viable for the business.

UX design disciplines: The quadrant model

One particular model, the quadrant model, is an effective way to break down UX design into its core disciplines. The four components of the quadrant model help to simplify UX design for product development teams.

1. Experience Strategy (ExS)

Experience Strategy (ExS) is a relatively new approach to UX design disciplines, one that has become increasingly popular in recent years. ExS focuses on the concept of developing strategies for experiences that happen both online and offline. These strategies include designing user interfaces, creating easy-to-navigate websites and applications, as well as understanding how people interact with technology. The ultimate goal of ExS is to create experiences that are enjoyable and effective for users.

2. Interaction Design (IxD)

Interaction design (IxD) is one of the four quadrants of UX design disciplines. IxD focuses on how a user interacts with and manipulates digital products, systems, or services to achieve their goals. It is concerned with the structure and behavior of interactive products — creating interaction models, user interfaces, dialogues, input devices, task flows etc. in a way that makes them intuitive and easy to use.

The main goal of IxD is to create an environment where users feel comfortable interacting with digital products without having to think too much or take extra steps.

3. User Research (UR)

User research (UR) is one of the most important disciplines in UX design. It focuses on understanding users’ needs, preferences and behaviors to create better designs that suit their goals. UR provides insights into how people interact with a product or service, ultimately driving innovation and improving user experience.

User research helps designers learn about user behavior so that solutions can be tailored around them for optimal results.

4. Information Architecture (IA)

Information Architecture (IA) is a critical component of UX design disciplines. It focuses on ensuring users can easily find and access the content they need. IA includes tasks such as structuring, labeling, organizing, and navigating websites or applications. The goal is to make the user experience intuitive so that finding information or completing a task is efficient and straightforward. All four of these components work together to create a cohesive user experience for end-users.

The Process of UX Design

Once you clearly understand the problem you're trying to solve, it's time to start thinking about possible solutions. This is where the real work of UX design begins.

1. Understand your user's pain points: In this stage of the UX design process, it's essential to understand why users need your product or service and what problems they are trying to solve when using it. This can typically be achieved by conducting market research, observing user behavior, interviewing potential users, and researching existing studies on similar products.

2. Create user personas: Personas are a tool used by UX designers to create representations of users based on the data collected from market research, interviews with potential customers, and other sources of data. These detailed personas help designers make better decisions when creating wireframes or prototypes for the product. They provide information such as age range, profession, goals & motivations that help inform design decisions related to UI elements (e.g., font size) & navigation (e.g., dropdown menus).

3. Map out user journeys: User journeys are an essential part of UX Design as they map out how a customer will interact with a product or service in detail over time (and outside the app/website). User journeys should document everything from initial discovery through onboarding until product adoption for designers to optimize their experiences over time based on customer feedback and usage analytics data observed from real-world situations.

4 . Create wireframes: Wireframing is one of the critical steps in the UX design process as it is used to visualize how a website will look before developers start coding it into reality. Wireframes usually consist of two primary components – boxes representing different UI elements & text content describing how those UI elements interact with each other at every step along the way. Designers use various prototyping tools, such as Adobe XD, Balsamiq Mockups, SketchApp, create these low-fidelity wireframe models, which serve as a reference point when developing functional websites/apps.

5. Prototyping: Prototyping is an essential part of UI and UX design. It's a method developers use to simulate the user experience of a product, software, or website before it is built or released. Through this process, designers can get quick feedback from users on how they interact with the product. This includes designing page layouts, creating navigation menus, and adding animation effects and interactive elements like buttons and sliders. Prototypes can be made at different fidelity levels- from simple sketches to highly interactive simulations.

The Tools of UX Design

The following are the essential tools for UX designers

1. Figma: Figma is a UI and UX design tool that helps designers to collaborate with their teams and clients in a streamlined manner. It enables users to create designs, mockups, prototypes, and more. It can be used for both web and mobile applications.

2. Adobe XD: Adobe XD is a comprehensive UI/UX design tool from the house of Adobe Creative Suite products used by professionals across industries for creating wireframes, prototypes, screen designs, etc. It helps streamline the entire design process from concept to completion on all digital platforms like websites, apps, etc.

3. InVision: InVision is an interactive prototyping platform that lets designers build pixel-perfect prototypes of their applications quickly and easily without any coding knowledge required! It also has several features, such as collaboration abilities between different members of the team, which helps ensure faster delivery times while maintaining quality standards with its perfect look & feel features like real-time previews and playback options, etc.

4. Lucid Charts: Lucid Chart is an online diagramming platform that makes it easy for anyone to make diagrams right within their browser! With its drag-and-drop feature, you can create beautiful flowcharts or process diagrams in no time at all! You can even share your work with others by simply sending them a link allowing for easy collaboration amongst teams working remotely on large projects too!

5. Adobe Photoshop: Adobe Photoshop is a powerful tool for digital image manipulation and graphic design. It allows for creating highly-detailed, complex visuals that can be used to create stunning visuals for webpages, print materials, and more. Additionally, its features enable designers to quickly mock up user interfaces with realistic graphics and interface elements before committing time and resources to develop them from scratch.

6. Sketch: Sketch is another popular UX Design tool often used in combination with Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator due to its ability to easily create wireframes, prototypes, and high-fidelity designs while maintaining small file sizes. It includes the ability to quickly preview various device sizes and tools such as symbols, enabling efficient reuse of elements across multiple pages or versions of a design.

The Future of UX Design

The future of UX design is ever-evolving and hard to predict. With new technologies emerging every day, it's hard to say what direction UX design will take.

However, we can look at the past to understand where things might be headed. One trend gaining traction is the move toward more personalization and customization. As we become more reliant on technology, we expect our devices and apps to cater to our individual needs and preferences.

Another big trend is the increasing importance of data analytics. As UX designers, we need to understand how users interact with our designs so that we can continually improve the user experience. Data analytics will help us track user behavior and identify areas for improvement.

Ultimately, the future of UX design is impossible to predict. But by staying abreast of new technologies and trends, we can ensure that we're always ready to take on whatever challenges come our way.

UX Research

The ninth step in your UX design process is research. Now that you have a solid understanding of your users, it's time to start digging into what they want and need from your product.

There are a few different ways to go about this, but one of the most important is user testing. This involves putting your product in the hands of real users and seeing how they interact with it. This can be done in person or online, and it's a great way to get feedback on your design.

Another vital part of research is competitor analysis. This involves looking at how other products in your space are designed and figuring out what works and doesn't. This can be a great way to get inspiration for your design.

Once you've done your research, it's time to move on to the next step: wireframing.

How to Become a UX Designer

1. Do your research: As a first step to becoming a UX designer, learning as much as possible about the field is vital. Familiarise yourself with industry trends, UX design processes, tools, UX terminology, etc. This knowledge will help you further when applying for jobs or interviewing for projects.

2. Take a UX design course: If you are looking to quickly build up your skills and knowledge base, taking an online course in UX design may be beneficial. There are plenty of reputable classes available online that offer detailed lessons, hands-on activities, and even virtual mentorship programs that all feed into creating an understanding of how user experience design works in practice.

3. Apply for a UX Design internship: Another way to gain some valuable experience as a beginner is by interning at an agency, or tech start-up focused on user experience design. By working directly with senior designers and other experienced professionals in the field, you'll be able to not only hone your skills but also gain invaluable insight into best practices within the industry.

4. Build Your UX Design Portfolio: As soon as you have built up enough work samples from previous projects either through internships or independent practice, its time to begin constructing your portfolio of work samples so potential employers can get an idea of what kind of work they can expect from you if hired onto their team! A well-crafted portfolio should showcase both technical skills (designs & wireframes) and any research studies or usability testing efforts undertaken in support of these designs – this combination helps demonstrate both creative ability and professional prowess, which are essential traits sought out by employers across all walks of life!

What Does UX Designer Do?

As a UX designer, you will be responsible for understanding the user's needs and creating a design that meets those needs while also considering the company's business goals.

You will work with a team of designers, developers, and other stakeholders to create a product that is not only usable but also delightful to use. To do this, you must have strong problem-solving skills and a deep understanding of human behavior.

The role of UX designer is constantly evolving as new technologies emerge, so it is crucial to be able to adapt your designs accordingly. As a UX designer, you need to be able to think on your feet and come up with creative solutions to complex problems.

What Do Graphic Design and UX Design Have in Common?

Graphic design and UX design are both disciplines that focus on creating visually appealing and user-friendly designs. While they have different goals and applications, they share many commonalities.

Emotional Thinking:

Both graphic design and UX design aim to evoke emotions in the viewer or user. In graphic design, this is often done through the use of colors, typography, and imagery to create a certain mood or feeling. In UX design, emotional thinking is used to create a sense of trust and engagement with the user, making the experience more satisfying and memorable.

Creative Thinking:

Both graphic design and UX design require a high level of creativity. Graphic designers must come up with visually striking designs that communicate a message, while UX designers must find innovative solutions to user problems. Both fields also involve brainstorming, sketching, and iterating on ideas to arrive at the best solution.


Both graphic design and UX design involve prototyping or creating a rough model of the final product. For graphic designers, this may involve creating rough sketches or mockups of a design. For UX designers, prototyping may involve creating wireframes or interactive mockups to test and iterate on different design solutions.

Graphic design and UX design share many similarities, including the use of emotional thinking, creative thinking, and prototyping. Both fields are crucial in creating visually appealing and user-friendly designs. However, while graphic design focuses on the visual appearance of a product, UX design focuses on the user's experience and how they interact with the product.

Vital Elements of Good User Experience

In addition to the items listed above, there are a few other essential elements to consider when thinking about UX design.

- Ease of use: The design should be intuitive and easy to use. Users should be able to navigate the site or app without any trouble.

- Aesthetics: The design should be visually appealing and pleasing.

- Functionality: The site or app should be able to perform the tasks it was designed to do without any issues.

- Reliability: Users should be able to rely on the site or app to work as intended.

UX Design Courses: A Guide to Upgrading Your Skills

When it comes to designing user-friendly digital products, understanding the principles of user experience (UX) design is crucial. Luckily, there are a variety of courses available that can help you learn the skills you need to create effective and engaging user interfaces. Here are a few options to consider:

Interaction Design Foundation

The Interaction Design Foundation (IDF) is a non-profit organization that offers a wide range of online courses on UX design. Their curriculum covers everything from the basics of user research and usability testing to more advanced topics like mobile design and service design. IDF's courses are self-paced and include interactive quizzes, case studies, and design exercises to help you apply what you've learned. Plus, once you complete a course, you'll receive a certificate of completion.


Coursera is an online learning platform that offers a wide variety of courses on UX design. Some of the most popular options include "Design Thinking" from the University of Virginia, "User Experience Design Fundamentals" from the University of California, San Diego, and "Interaction Design Specialization" from the University of California, San Diego. With Coursera, you'll have access to a diverse set of instructors and a wealth of course materials, including video lectures, readings, and quizzes.


Udemy is an online learning platform that offers a wide variety of UX design courses. Some of the most popular options include "UX Design Fundamentals: From Idea to Wireframe" and "UX Design for Web Developers." With Udemy, you'll have access to a wide range of instructors and a wealth of course materials, including video lectures, readings, and quizzes.

Nielsen Norman Group

The Nielsen Norman Group is a well-known design consultancy that has been around for more than 20 years. They offer a variety of UX design courses, including "Designing Interfaces," "Usability Testing Fundamentals," and "Mobile Usability." These courses are led by experienced practitioners and are designed to give you a deep understanding of the latest design trends and best practices.

There are many options for learning UX design, from non-profit foundations to online learning platforms, each of these options has different approaches and different way of teaching, so it's important to find the one that suits you best. Each of the above-mentioned resources are a great option, and it's worth considering a few different options to find the one that works best for you.


UX design is a process that can help you create products that are not only useful but also easy and enjoyable to use. Remember that UX design is not just about making things look good—it's also about making things work well. The goal is to create a product that is both useful and usable.

If you're interested in pursuing a career in UX design, there are a few things you can do to get started:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the basics of design and user experience.

  2. Start playing around with design software such as Photoshop or Sketch.

  3. Try designing a few simple products, such as websites or apps.

Remember that the most important thing is to keep learning and evolving as a designer.


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Shaheer Malik

UX Designer/ Writer

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