Intro to UI/UX Design: Everything You Need to Know

UX design is the process that design teams use to create products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences for users. Although UX design is a relatively new field, it has become one of the most in-demand specialties in the past few years. If you haven't already applied UX design to your business, you may wonder what it involves and how it relates to your brand, products, or services.
This guide will cover everything you need to know about UX design, including what it is, what a UX designer does, the benefits of UX design for business, and more.
What is user experience design (UX)?
User experience design, or UX design, is a design process that aims to create systems that provide users with a great experience. UX design includes principles from areas such as user interface design, usability, accessibility, information architecture, and human-computer interaction.
User experience design is handled by user experience (UX) designers. One of their main areas of focus is user interaction with the system they are using and the accessibility of the system. Therefore, a UX designer follows principles that define how to make a product accessible and then present these principles in the system design process to improve user interaction.
The concept of UX design has many aspects. Digging deeper into what UX design is, it can be described as follows:
Dedication to designing products and services with purpose, empathy, and authenticity. It's the ongoing practice of looking at the world through consumers' eyes and determining how you can improve their quality of life.
Delivering on brand promises and realizing the consumer experience has a significant commercial impact.
The culmination of content, research, design and strategy and their impact on the delivery, sale and use of a product or service.
The art and science of evoking positive feelings in customers as they interact with a product
The creative and technical process of deciding what a website, product, or piece of software will be — including what it will do for people, how they will use it, and even how it will look, sound, and feel
The process of anticipating and meeting people's needs before, during, and after a product is created.
UX design is user-centered

UX design is also user-centered because it encompasses the user journey from start to finish. The design process requires a good understanding of users and their context and then using that as the basis for all design and development.
UX design is also interdisciplinary because UX designers come from a variety of disciplines, including visual design, programming, psychology, and interaction design. They must always keep accessibility at the forefront of their work while at the same time being able to account for physical limitations that users may experience. One such example is the inability to read fine text.
Conducting user research, creating personas, developing electronic diagrams and interactive prototypes, or testing designs — the tasks of a UX designer can vary from company to company. However, the main task is always to satisfy the user's needs. To achieve this goal, most UX designers use a user-centered workflow.
The difference between UX and UI design
UX design is the overall experience of interacting with a product, while UI (user interface) design is the look and feel of a product's interface.
A UX designer thinks all the way through the user's path to solving a specific problem. They consider things like the steps the user has to take, the tasks they have to perform, and how easy the whole process is.
The UI designer then focuses on all the visual details that bring the user's journey to life. They have to consider things like color combinations to improve readability or how color pairs can account for limitations such as color blindness.
Because UX design focuses on recognizing and solving user problems, it is often the first step in the product development process. The UX designer must map out the user's journey through the product while also thinking about the information architecture or how the content is organized. He should also consider what features the user might need.
UI design, on the other hand, is about creating interfaces that are intuitive, beautifully designed, and interactive. Whereas the UX designer creates the «bare bones» of the user journey, the UI designer fills in the missing pieces with visual and interactive components. These include individual screens and touchpoints that the user may encounter.
Another clear difference in both areas is that while UX applies to any type of product, service or experience, UI applies only to digital products and experiences.
Although UX and UI go hand in hand, they each have their own roles with separate processes and responsibilities.
Why is UX design important to your business?
From increasing conversions and improving SEO to helping with user retention, UX design offers many benefits to your business. Let's take a closer look at why UX design is important.
UX design can reduce major costs in the future

New projects always carry a certain risk for business. UX design and its design thinking processes focus on research, analysis, and testing. These three elements immediately increase the chances of success from the start, thereby reducing high costs later on.
This is because it is easier and cheaper to prevent potential usability problems from the start. In addition, design changes are not as complicated and costly as development changes such as product redesigns or bug fixes.
Prototyping: The initial prototyping phase often identifies and fixes most product bugs. Prototyping is an integral part of the UX design process because it also involves creating a mockup of the final product. This prototype is then used in user testing before the product is developed and launched. During the prototyping phase, designers comprehensively test features, information architecture, and design. In this way, companies can better estimate the cost and time required to complete the project. Prototyping helps companies cut costs in two ways. 
Avoid «feature creep» and get a more accurate estimate: Feature creep is when new features are constantly being added to a product, making it too difficult to use. This problem is common with products that haven't used UX design. Making such changes is not only expensive but also time-consuming.
Getting the content right: The content of your site or app is the key to conversions. By solving this problem early in the prototyping process, you can ensure that your content is fit for purpose before releasing your site or app to the public. This is another time and cost savings for your business.
User and Usability Testing: User testing tests the usability of a product on real users. This allows the UX designer to identify any obstacles they encounter when interacting with the product. However, when working closely on product design, it's easy to form a bias or become short-sighted. If a product is not tested on users outside the company, its features may be overlooked. This is because other users are likely to interact with the product very differently.
Conducting user and usability testing helps identify possible friction during the prototyping stage before the development phase begins.
UX design can help you increase conversions
Some websites or apps may look beautiful, but their overly complex design makes it difficult for users to find the information they want, which discourages them.
People are impatient, and this quality is only amplified when searching online. Therefore, it's crucial to reduce the level of effort users have to put into interacting with your product. This will only increase the number of conversions on your product.
Reduce the number of steps:A crucial part of UX design is to make user interaction with your website or app as easy as possible. When a user can't complete their task, they get annoyed. But when they can find what they're looking for, it also helps your business by increasing conversions and interactions on your site or app.
Having clear CTAs: Another way to increase conversions is with clear, action-oriented calls to action that answer the user's «why» question. «Subscribe to our mailing list» is more effective from a UX design and SEO perspective than, for example, «click here.» The latter tells users what to do but doesn't explain why they should do it.
UX design can improve SEO
Good UX design can also improve your SEO rankings. Google prioritizes a high user experience in search results because its goal is quickly providing users with the most relevant answer to their questions.
User experience also counts in paid media or PPC (pay-per-click) advertising. Google Ads evaluates the «landing page experience» of your ads. It also offers tips to help you ensure a better user journey through those pages.
A poor user experience can lead to poor SEO rankings or a failed ad campaign.
UX design can increase brand loyalty
A great user experience also helps develop trust in your brand, product, or service. This, in turn, creates a long-term relationship with your target audience. When a user gets a positive experience from interacting with your business, it motivates and encourages them to turn into a customer.
Customer Retention: Once a user has been converted, the challenge is to turn them into loyal customers. E-commerce stores hoping to cross-sell other products in their store to current customers significantly benefit from this.
Customer journey maps are an element of UX design that helps retain and nurture existing customers. They are visual storyboards that aim to describe each step of the customer journey from start to finish. Customer journey maps allow your brand to do three critical things:
  • Develop empathy for your target customers
  • Understand what stage of the buying cycle the customer is at
  • Identify what pain points they may encounter at certain stages of their journey.
These three elements also provide valuable insight into how you can optimize your design to increase engagement, as well as customer loyalty and retention.
Even in the digital age, word-of-mouth recommendations are a great way to boost your business. UX design can promote word-of-mouth in a variety of ways, starting with social sharing. The functional and user-centered design provides built-in, seamless interaction with social media. This builds social awareness of your business, product, or service.
It also builds trust. People tend to learn behaviors from their peers or people who share common traits with them. That's why UX design also includes customer reviews, star ratings, and «People have bought too» features in a website or app. These are important metrics because they show consumers' real opinions and habits about how they interact with or rate a brand, product or service. After all, positive ratings lead to more sales.

What does a UX designer do?
A UX designer makes a product or service easy to use, accessible and enjoyable. Companies can design different kinds of user experiences. However, the term is mostly used to refer to the digital design of websites and applications. While the specific UX design process differs from product to product or company to company, the general steps of UX design generally remain the same.
Using various techniques, such as card sorting, the UX designer should also map user flows. The information architecture is also useful at this stage. Once these user flows are established, the UX designer understands the path the user must take to reach the desired objectives. The solutions for each of these steps will then be visually brainstormed, often by creating electronic diagrams and prototypes of what the final product might look like.
The prototypes allow the UX designer to conduct usability tests to figure out how users interact with the product. Based on these tests, the designer can determine if the user can perform the tasks at hand or if changes need to be made.
In addition to creating solutions for user pain points, UX designers must also present their proposals and designs to key stakeholders.
A UX designer's tasks vary from company to company and largely depend on the size of the organization as well as its needs. In small companies or startups, a UX designer may be required to perform a wide range of tasks. Larger companies, however, often have multiple UX designers, each specializing in a different part of the process.

What tasks does the UX designer perform?
The UX designer is responsible for a number of tasks on a daily basis. These include:
Conducting user research.
To get a full understanding of the scope of the project, as well as who it is being developed for, the UX designer conducts desk and field research.  
This may include examining the client's current website, researching competitors, and asking existing users questions to determine their desires and pain points concerning the product.
These tasks help the UX designer determine the key features of a minimum viable product (MVP). This is an early version of the product that contains enough features to be used by the first customers, who can then provide feedback for further product development. Conducting user research also helps the UX designer begin to develop some user personas.

Creating user personas
Developing user personas is another key activity, as it allows UX designers to understand what each persona wants to do and why.
Sometimes custom personas can be designed in conjunction with tasks to do (JTBD). Instead of focusing on a hypothetical user, JTBD looks at what existing customers are already using the product for.
Information Architecture.
Information architecture involves thinking about the types of content needed and how it will be organized within the product being developed. For example, when creating a website or app, you want the content to be structured in the most logical layout.
An effective information architecture ensures that the user can quickly and easily find what they are looking for. It also allows the user to navigate the product without having to think about it intuitively.

User testing and prototyping 

UX designers should also create prototypes, which are scaled-down versions of a product. They act as a model that allows designers to test their designs before the development stage. Prototypes vary in complexity. Some are simplified paper models, while others can be interactive and closely represent the final product.
 By allowing real users to test these prototypes, UX designers can identify any design flaws before the final product is created. It often takes several rounds of testing before a design is deemed perfect enough to be completed.
 Once a product finally satisfies a wide range of user needs, the development phase begins. Once development begins, the UX designer's work is not finished. He should attend sprint meetings with developers to monitor progress and make minor adjustments to the design if necessary.
Even after a product launch, the UX designer will still have to make small changes, develop new releases, and gather user feedback and data to discuss with the team. Although most of the UX designer's work is design-based, his or her day-to-day tasks still require frequent collaboration and coordination.
What skills does a UX designer need?
UX designers need a diverse set of skills to handle the wide range of responsibilities that their role requires. In addition to the technical and design skills needed for tasks such as electronic schematics, prototyping, data understanding, and feedback, UX designers need certain «soft» skills. These skills include flexibility, excellent communication, compassion, problem-solving, and teamwork skills.
Because UX designers work with everyone from end users, customers, and stakeholders to developers and other UX designers, it's critical for them to know how to collaborate effectively.
Knowing the business is also helpful. UX designers need to understand the goals of the business as well as the specific needs of the target market. These two elements must be aligned in order to develop practical design solutions.
Those who work as a UX designer in a startup or as a full-stack (interdisciplinary) designer will also have cross-training in other areas, such as UX writing or web development.  
UX design provides tremendous value not only to the user but also to the business providing the experience to that user.
As users, good UX design allows us to live our daily lives as simply as possible. Whether it's making a morning alarm clock, sending online messages to friends, listening to music, or making an online reservation, the simple ways we perform these actions are the result of effective design.
From a business perspective, creating an exceptional user experience is key to achieving customer satisfaction and increasing brand loyalty. In the words of Thomas Watson, Jr., Only when a product or service is easy to use, and enjoyable to interact with will the user come back to it.