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User Experience, User Interaction, and User Interface Design

User Experience, User Interaction, and User Interface Design, are all terms that describe the role of a web designer in determining a user’s experience when using a web application.

User Experience (UX), User Interaction (UI), and User Interface (UI) Design, are all terms that describe the role of a web designer in determining a user’s experience when using a web application.

When we go to search major search engines such as Google, Bing, or DuckDuckGo, we take for that we type our query into the search box, hit submit, and get a list of results.

As obvious as it seems, that user experience was designed by a specialist whose job was to figure out what exactly would happen at each step of your searching process.

User Experience, sometimes referred to as User Interaction Design or User Interface Design, is the process of designing what happens as a user moves through a web application. Sometimes, a UXdesigner makes major product feature decisions, other times, their role can be to translate product features into a seamless user flow.

For example, imagine that you are a UX designer hired by a startup who is designing a new search engine, we will call them Giggle. As the UX designer, you might come in and decide that in order to focus the user on the act of searching, Giggle should have search be the only thing a user can do on their homepage. No links to top searches, no ads, no nothing except a big search box and a submit button. You will then also design what happens once a user hits that submit button, and what happens if they decide to search again.

Now, as User Experience designer, you might not literally know how to code, but you do need to have a thorough and up-to-date understanding of latest trends in web technologies, especially frontend technologies. If we go back to our example above, as UX designer you might also suggest to Giggle that they use AJAX to help narrow down the user’s search queries and give them immediate results.

When all is said and done, UX designers often deliver heavily annotated wireframes, interactive wireframes, or design comps to their clients. Sometimes, UX designers will actually produce HTML and JavaScript files, but this is less common.

What User Experience design is not, is the design of the look and feel of the website. Oftentimes, UX designers do not design logos, select colors or fonts, or set web page layouts. Many web designers who do design the visual aesthetics of a website, can also do User Experience Design, but many UX designers do not also design the visual interface.

Cocktail Party Fact

User Experience design is not actually limited to web applications. Any type of interactive machine, system, or product requires user experience design. Your teapot? Yep, that needed a user experience designer.

In 1988, Donald Norman, a cognitive scientist and usability engineer, published a book called The Design of Everyday Things. In the book, Norman discusses how everyday objects are designed and the powerful effects that their design can have on our emotions and daily lived experience.

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4 comments

  1. I would say that SOME web designers who do visual layout can also do UX, not many.

    In development its easy to create a registration page and a confirmation page – but if that could be considered UX design, than a UX’er that writes a piece of code with an
    tag and outputting a headline as opposed to a tag could be a web designer.

    While

  2. This article could use an explanation of what a wireframe is. I’ve seen the term, and seen things called wireframes — they’re basically static graphic GUI mockups. But I haven’t been involved in UI work in the last few years to know if that usage of “wireframe” is standard.

    • Hey axegrrl – this is a great idea we’ll put wireframes on our list as well as GUI. I would explain wireframes as a rough layout of what content will be on a website. Usually represented with boxes and some text. See attached image.

    • Hey axegrrl – this is a great idea we’ll put wireframes on our list as well as GUI. I would explain wireframes as a rough layout of what content will be on a website. Usually represented with boxes and some text. See attached image.

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