User experience design

User Experience Design (UXD, UED, or XD) is the process of manipulating user behavior[1] through usability, accessibility, and desirability provided in the interaction with a product. User experience design encompasses traditional human–computer interaction (HCI) design and extends it by addressing all aspects of a product or service as perceived by users. Experience design (XD) is the practice of designing products, processes, services, events, omnichannel journeys, and environments with a focus placed on the quality of the user experience and culturally relevant solutions.[2] Experience design is not driven by a single design discipline. Instead, it requires a cross-discipline perspective that considers multiple aspects of the brand/ business/ environment/ experience from product, packaging, and retail environment to the clothing and attitude of employees. Experience design seeks to develop the experience of a product, service, or event along any or all of the following dimensions:[3]

  • Duration (initiation, immersion, conclusion, and continuation)
  • Intensity (reflex, habit, engagement)
  • Breadth (products, services, brands, nomenclatures, channels/environment/promotion, and price)
  • Interaction (passive < > active < > interactive)
  • Triggers (all human senses, concepts, and symbols)
  • Significance (meaning, status, emotion, price, and function)


The field of user experience design is a conceptual design discipline and has its roots in human factors and ergonomics, a field that, since the late 1940s, has focused on the interaction between human users, machines, and the contextual environments to design systems that address the user's experience.[4][5] With the proliferation of workplace computers in the early 1990s, user experience started to become a positive insight for designers. Donald Norman, a professor and researcher in design, usability, and cognitive science, continued the term "user experience," and brought it to a wider audience.[6][7]

I invented the term because I thought human interface and usability were extremely good. I wanted to cover all aspects of the person's experience with the system including industrial design graphics, the interface, the physical interaction and the manual. Since then the term has spread widely, so much so that it is starting to gain its meaning.

Donald Norman[8]

There is an enable all access occurring in the experience design community regarding its business view all access in part by design scholar and practitioner, Don Norman. Norman claims that when designers describe people only as customers, consumers, and users, designers allowing their ability to do good design.[9]



Research is critical to UX.[10] User experience design draws from design approaches like human-computer interaction and user-centered design, and includes elements from similar disciplines like interaction design, visual design, information architecture, user research, and others.

The second part of research is understanding the end-user and the purpose of the application. Though this might seem clear to the designer, stepping back and empathizing with the user will yield best results.

Visual design

Visual design, also commonly known as graphic design, user interface design, communication design, and visual communication, represents the aesthetics or look-and-feel of the front end of any user interface. Graphic treatment of interface elements is often perceived as the visual design. The purpose of visual design is to use visual elements like colors, images, and symbols to convey a message to its audience. Fundamentals of Gestalt psychology and visual perception give a cognitive perspective on how to create effective visual communication.[11]

Information architecture

Information architecture is the art and science of structuring and organizing the information in products and services to support usability and findability.[12]

In the context of information architecture, information is separate from both knowledge and data, and lies nebulously between them. It is information about objects.[13] The objects can range from websites, to software applications, to images et al. It is also concerned with metadata: terms used to describe and represent content objects such as documents, people, process, and organizations. Information Architect also encompasses how the pages and navigation are structured.

Interaction design

It is well recognized that the component of interaction design is an essential part of user experience (UX) design, centering on the interaction between users and products.[14] The goal of interaction design is to create a product that produces an efficient and delightful end-user experience by enabling users to achieve their objectives in the best way possible[15][16]

The current high emphasis on user-centered design and the strong focus on enhancing user experience have made interaction designers critical in conceptualizing products to match user expectations and meet the standards of the latest UI patterns and components.[17]

In the last few years, the role of interaction designer has shifted from being just focused on specifying UI components and communicating them to the engineers to a situation in which designers have more freedom to design contextual interfaces based on helping meet the user's needs.[18] Therefore, User Experience Design evolved into a multidisciplinary design branch that involves multiple technical aspects from motion graphics design and animation to programming.


Usability is the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use.[19]

Usability is attached with all tools used by humans and is extended to both digital and non-digital devices. Thus, it is a subset of user experience but not wholly contained. The section of usability that intersects with user experience design is related to humans' ability to use a system or application. Good usability is essential to a positive user experience but does not alone guarantee it.[20]


Accessibility of a system describes its ease of reach, use and understanding. In terms of user experience design, it can also be related to the overall comprehensibility of the information and features. It helps shorten the learning curve associated with the system. Accessibility in many contexts can be related to the ease of use for people with disabilities and comes under usability.[21]

WCAG compliance

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible. This makes web content more usable to users in general.[22] Making content more usable and readily accessible to all types of users enhances a user's overall user experience.

Human–computer interaction

Human–computer interaction is concerned with the design, evaluation and implementation of interactive computing systems for human use and with the study of major phenomena surrounding them.[23]

Getting ready to design

After research, the designer uses modeling of the users and their environments. User modeling or personas are composite archetypes based on behavior patterns uncovered during research. Personas provide designers a precise way of thinking and communicating about how groups of users behave, how they think, what they want to accomplish and why.[24] Once created, personas help the designer to understand the users' goals in specific contexts, which is particularly useful during ideation and for validating design concepts. Other types of models include work flow models, artifact models, and physical models.


When the designer has a firm grasp on the user's needs and goals, they begin to sketch out the interaction framework (also known as wireframes). This stage defines the high-level structure of screen layouts, as well as the product's flow, behavior, and organization. There are many kinds of materials that can be involved during this iterative phase, from whiteboards to paper prototypes. As the interaction framework establishes an overall structure for product behavior, a parallel process focused on the visual and industrial designs. The visual design framework defines the experience attributes, visual language, and the visual style.[25]

Once a solid and stable framework is established, wireframes are translated from sketched storyboards to full-resolution screens that depict the user interface at the pixel level. At this point, it's critical for the programming team to collaborate closely with the designer. Their input is necessary to creating a finished design that can and will be built while remaining true to the concept.

Test and iterate

Usability testing is carried out by giving users various tasks to perform on the prototypes. Any issues or problems faced by the users are collected as field notes and these notes are used to make changes in the design and reiterate the testing phase.[26] Usability testing is, at its core, a means to "evaluate, not create".[27]

UX deliverables

UX designers' main goal is to solve the end-users' problems and provide delightful product experience, and thus the ability to communicate the design to stakeholders and developers is critical to the ultimate success of the design. Regarding UX specification documents, these requirements depend on the client or the organization involved in designing a product. The four major deliverables are: a title page, an introduction to the feature, wireframes, and a version history.[28] Depending on the type of project, the specification documents can also include flow models, cultural models, personas, user stories, scenarios and any prior user research. Documenting design decisions, in the form of annotated wireframes, gives the developer the necessary information they may need to successfully code the project.

Follow-up to project launch


  • User testing/usability testing
  • A/B testing
  • Information Architecture
  • Sitemaps & User flows
  • Additional wireframing as a result of test results and fine-tuning[29]

Graphic designers

Graphic designers focus on the aesthetic appeal of the design. Information is communicated to the users through text and images. Much importance is given to how the text and images look and attract the users. Graphic designers have to make stylistic choices about things like font color, font type, and image locations. Graphic designers focus on grabbing the user's attention with the way the design looks. Graphic designers create visual concepts, using computer software or by hand, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, and captivate consumers. They develop the overall layout and production design for various applications such as advertisements, brochures, magazines, and corporate reports.[30]

Visual designers

The visual designer (VisD) ensures that the visual representation of the design effectively communicates the data and hints at the expected behavior of the product. At the same time, the visual designer is responsible for conveying the brand ideals in the product and for creating a positive first impression; this responsibility is shared with the industrial designer if the product involves hardware. In essence, a visual designer must aim for maximum usability combined with maximum desirability.[31]

Interaction designers

Interaction designers (IxD) are responsible for understanding and specifying how the product should behave. This work overlaps with the work of both visual and industrial designers in a couple of important ways. When designing physical products, interaction designers must work with industrial designers early on to specify the requirements for physical inputs and to understand the behavioral impacts of the mechanisms behind them. Interaction designers cross paths with visual designers throughout the project. Visual designers guide the discussions of the brand and emotive aspects of the experience, Interaction designers communicate the priority of information, flow, and functionality in the interface.[32]

User Experience in Video Games

Video games are run by user experience design tactics and are key in their success. User experience has improved in gaming by providing people with higher picture and resolution quality. [33]In the past, the original Nintendo gaming systems had very blurry and distorted graphics and did not provide users with clear on screen graphical content. Users and game developers wanted more than just a distorted image to control in a 2D platform. With new desires to give gamers a better user experience and user interface, the creation of new 3D game designing came about. [34] The addition of a 3D imagery systems gave designers new usability options and allowed players of 3D games to explore around a 3D virtual map, like in Mario Bros. This new 3D animation was just the spark that would light the fire for the advancement of graphical content to come and also resulted in more realistic and real world oriented game imaging. [35]

As more consoles are released the user interface of graphics greatly increases. [36]Consoles such as PS4 and Xbox One are the latest next generation consoles that portray realistic graphics that results in giving players a more exciting user experience . Games that include high level graphics are GTA 5, NBA 2k19, and Madden 19. In Madden and NBA users can play with their real life favorite sports players that almost look exactly the same. The picture for the games even captures tattoos and certain distinct facial features found on videogame characters' real life version. [37] Furthermore, story line enhancements have resulted in the user interfaces of video games gaining popular feedback from fans and contribute to the games achievement as a whole.[38] According to Robin Burks, “playing a video game involves more interaction than watching a film or television series. For example, scenes pause as players are forced to decide who lives and who dies: and sometimes, players must make that choice quickly. This interaction means that the player becomes part of the story and not just an inactive participant.”[39] The quick decision making and on edge approach to video game storylines impact the way players shape their own user experience. In some circumstances, users could be faced with choosing life or death between two of their favorite characters. For players who become emotionally invested into their games this spices things up for them and leaves them with a tough decision.

Story Lines Enhance UX

Storylines that trigger emotion are crucial in gaining a player's interest of a game and is an element that is not easy to do, but when done correctly gamers get a sense of real emotion within gameplay. [40]Having an intense storyline tied into a game's user experience also gives players an incentive to continue playing the game because the more they keep playing, the more likely they are to want to find out the conclusion to the game's storyline. Ultimately, players control their own fate while playing storyline based games such as The Walking Dead and is why video games serve as a great medium for interactive decision making stories. [41]

Moreover, video game user experiences and interfaces have become more user-friendly than ever before. Human usability is essential to video game success and the addition of complex control systems that are easy for users to pick up on creates a whole new world of actions and possibilities for a player's user experience. The complex controls are laid out on screen to help users identify what buttons should be pressed to do certain actions within gameplay. Fortnite and Call of Duty are prime examples of video games in which users hold the key to gameplay. Futurism writer, Dan Robitzki, says, “Part of the reason Fortnite has blown up, game experts assert, is because it incorporates the best parts of other games and makes things as simple as possible.” [42]When entering a game of Fortnite, the game immediately displays a button command on screen and the button commands continuously show up to avoid user confusion while playing the game. Additionally, button layouts on the screen allow for a clear and consistent user experience and helps in avoiding frustration of players. [43] Without control layouts, users would have to use trial and error tactics to figure out which buttons control a desired in game action. Call of Duty provides a tutorial before starting up the campaign story mode aspect of the game which gives first time players an easy and confusion free user experience. Players of Call of Duty can also create their own in game avatar to play with for online gameplay. An addition of an avatar gives users the potential to put a personal spin on their soldier’s appearance. [44] Fortnite and Call of Duty are just a couple of next generation games that have provided ways to implement a better user-friendly experience and interface.

Testing the design

Usability testing is the most common method used by designers to test their designs. The basic idea behind conducting a usability test is to check whether the design of a product or brand works well with the target users. While carrying out usability testing, two things are being tested for: Whether the design of the product is successful and if it is not successful, how can it be improved. While designers are testing, they are testing the design and not the user. Also, every design is evolving. The designers carry out usability testing at every stage of the design process.[45]

See also


  1. Eyal, Nir (2014-11-04). Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. Penguin. ISBN 9780698190665.
  2. Aarts, Emile H. L.; Stefano Marzano (2003). The New Everyday: Views on Ambient Intelligence. 010 Publishers. p. 46. ISBN 978-90-6450-502-7.
  3. Steve Diller, Nathan Shedroff, Darrel Rhea (2005): Making Meaning: How Successful Businesses Deliver Meaningful Customer Experiences. New Riders Press ISBN 0-321-37409-6
  4. "Design in motion". IBM Design. Retrieved 2015-06-18.
  5. environmental context "THE INTERACTION DESIGN FOUNDATION", by Karen Holtzblatt and Hugh R., Retrieved 2016-08-26
  6., "UX Design Defined", 16/08/2010
  7. Kujala, Sari; Roto, Virpi; Väänänen-Vainio-Mattila, Kaisa; Karapanos, Evangelos; Sinneläa, Arto (2011). "UX Curve: A method for unlimited long-term user experience". Interacting With Computers. 23 (5): 473–483. doi:10.1016/j.intcom.2011.06.005.
  8. Merholz, Peter (2007). "Peter in Conversation with Don Norman About UX & Innovation". Adaptive Path.
  9. "Words Matter. Talk About People: Customers, Consumers,Users". Don Norman's jnd website. Retrieved 2008-10-03.
  11. "Visual Design Web Style Guide 3". Web Style Guide. Retrieved 2015-06-18.
  12. Information Architecture Institute (2013), What is IA? (PDF)
  13. Garrett, Jesse (2011). The Elements of User Experience. p. 81. ISBN 0-321-68368-4.
  14. "What is Interaction Design?".
  15. "Principles of Mobile App Design". Archived from the original on 2018-04-13.
  16. "What Is User Experience Design? Overview, Tools And Resources".
  17. "The Five Competencies of User Experience Design".
  18. Lowgren, Jonas. "Interaction Design - brief intro". The Interaction Design Foundation. Retrieved 2015-06-18.
  19. "International Standards". UsabilityNet. 1998. Retrieved 2015-06-18.
  20. Marcus, Aaron (2015). Design, User Experience, and Usability: Design Discourse. p. 340. ISBN 3319208861. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  21. Butters, Kerry (16 October 2014). "The Fundamentals of Great UX". Archived from the original on 6 July 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  22. "Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0". Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  23. "Curricula for Human-Computer Interaction, Chapter 2. Definition and Overview of Human-Computer Interaction". ACM SIGCHI. Retrieved 2015-06-18.
  24. Cooper, Alan; Reimann, Robert; Cronin, David; Noessel, Christopher. About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design (4th ed.). Wiley. p. 62. ISBN 978-1-118-76657-6.
  25. Cooper, Alan; Reimann, Robert; Cronin, David; Noessel, Christopher (2014). About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design (4th ed.). Wiley. p. 131. ISBN 978-1-118-76657-6.
  26. Treder, Marcin (2012-08-29). "Beyond Wireframing: The Real-Life UX Design Process". Smashing Magazine. Retrieved 2015-06-18.
  27. Cooper, Alan; Reimann, Robert; Cronin, David; Noessel, Christopher (2014). About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design. Wiley. p. 140. ISBN 978-1-118-76657-6.
  28. Kiess, Chris (2014-05-07). "A Practical Guide to UX Specifications". C L Kiess. Retrieved 2015-06-18.
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  31. Goodwin, Kim (2009). Designing for the Digital Age. Wiley. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-470-22910-1.
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  33. Dori, Amir (2019-10-02). "Game Design UX Best Practices // The Ultimate Guide". Medium. Retrieved 2019-12-14.
  34. admin (2018-01-18). "The Evolution of Video Game Graphics". Culture of Gaming. Retrieved 2019-12-14.
  35. "ShieldSquare Captcha". doi:10.1088/1742-6596/1087/6/062024/pdf. Retrieved 2019-12-14.
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Further reading

  • Buxton, Bill (2010). Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design. p. 436. ISBN 9780123740373.
  • Cooper, Alan (1999). The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High-Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity. p. 261. ISBN 9780672316494.
  • Cooper, Alan; Reimann, Robert; Cronin, David; Noessel, Christopher (2014). About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design (4th ed.). ISBN 9781118766576.
  • Curedale, Robert (2018). Mapping Methods 2: Step-by-step guide Experience Maps Journey Maps Service Blueprints Affinity Diagrams Empathy Maps Business Model Canvas (2nd ed.). ISBN 978-1940805375.
  • Moggridge, Bill (2006). Designing Interactions. pp. 766. ISBN 9780262134743.
  • Moser, Christian (2008). User Experience Design: Mit erlebniszentrierter Softwareentwicklung zu Produkten, die begeistern. p. 252. ISBN 9783642133626.
  • Norman, Donald (2013). The Design of Everyday Things. p. 351. ISBN 9780465067107.
  • Tidwell, Jenifer (2005). Designing Interfaces. p. 332. ISBN 9781449379704.
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