If you are doing (good) marketing, then I am sure you have come across abbreviations UX/UI. It is a fancy set of letters that marketers normally use when trying to sound very smart and cool (among other things). What is the actual connection to marketing is even a bigger mystery? If you have not dug the terms yourself already, I am happy to share some thoughts with you. Right here and right now. So let’s start.
UX/UI stands for User eXperience slash User Interface and we often glue it to the magic word design. Does it ring a bell now? As Emil Lamprecht elaborates, both elements are crucial to a product and work closely together. Nevertheless, the roles themselves are quite different, referring to very different parts of the process and the design discipline. UX Design is a more analytical and technical field. UI Design is closer to what we refer to as graphic design, though the responsibilities are somewhat more complex.
This all sounds important, but if I am a marketer, why should I care about it?
The secret is- you should. You should care about it big time. All products are going through the design process and a positive user experience is your Holy Grail. A great product experience starts with UX followed by UI. Both comprise the big picture that mirrors in consumers’ minds and is a replica of your brand. I like to observe UX design as processes that serve to create the background image in your consumer’s brains about your products; or to trigger their emotions and feeling during the time they interact with the product or services. UI design is the makeup that they see; the easiness and user- friendliness of the functions and the medium through which you direct their experience.
If you’re interested in sociology, in cognitive science, in people, and in great products, User Experience is a good place to be; but if you understand those principles, you might look at its brother-in-arms: User Interface Design. If you, by any chance, find yourself in Vienna on the first Friday in a month, give it a shot and attend the Ux Wien Mornings. You may actually see UX/UI design and research in practice.
However, if you have never seen UX/UI work in practice, never even used the term at work, it might be still difficult to imagine what those designers actually do. Moreover, is it really a job for a designer alone?
A couple of weeks ago, I engaged in a conversation with a friend of mine who is an artist. She is really doing magic on the canvas, but in photoshop, too. We started thinking how she could use the gift that many people lack (creativity) and when I mentioned UX/UI design, she said: “Well, this is what I have been doing all along”. Now, it got a label. It might take me a little bit more time to convince her that what she does is worth of the title UX/UI designer. UX may be a buzzword, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for those of us who design for the web.
When you think about it, the web design needs artists, SEO experts, content specialist, marketers or programmers. I dare to say that UX/UI designers are the mixture of all. Therefore, if you are in any of these fields, you have the chance to step into the UX design.
Why do we need the UX/UI design? Usability, usability, usability (repeat after me). It is more important than we can imagine. You do not want to have a frustrated crowd of your online content users. I suggest the book Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug. The equation is very simple if people can’t use the product, they won’t. Next time you think that neither UX nor UI is so much important, think twice. Besides the well-known design tools, products, especially Apps, Websites or online content can be pre-tested. How? Prototypes, of course! Last time I got into prototype creating, I used InVision. It is a great platform and I highly recommend it. Nevertheless, feel free to argument your own tools. By testing the mockup, you get the feedback that helps you change the design before it goes live.
Thanks to the user experience and user interface designers, we have the order in the world of chaos.