100 THINGS I LEARNED ABOUT DESIGN  |  JUNE 15, 2020

100 THINGS I LEARNED ABOUT DESIGN
JUNE 15, 2020

3. What UX Design isn't?

3. What UX Design isn't?

I recently wrote about What is UX Design. Now I want to cover What UX Design isn't, which is equally important to understand. UX Design, being a relatively new field—at least semantically speaking—is often hard to grasp. And for that very reason, there are many misconceptions when it comes to UX Design. Here are just a few that I come across often.

I recently wrote about What is UX Design. Now I want to cover What UX Design isn't, which is equally important to understand. UX Design, being a relatively new field—at least semantically speaking—is often hard to grasp. And for that very reason, there are many misconceptions when it comes to UX Design. Here are just a few that I come across often.

What UX Design Isn't

UX Design isn't the same as UI Design

This one is a classic. When talking about design, people tend to throw UX and UI in the same bucket. Of course, both fields are similar, however, they are two different fields. Let's look at the differences. 
 
There's a quote from Steve Jobs that sums it nicely:
"Design is not just what is looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
 
If we dissect this quote, UI Design is the "what is looks like and feels like" part. UI Design stands for User Interface design. The keyword being interface. It's what users interact with when they use a product. It's what they see every time they open an app or visit a website. And the elements that make up UI design include typography, colors, imagery, iconography, buttons, form fields and more.
 
UX design on the other hand is the "how it works" part of the quote. UX Design is the functionality of the product. It's the content and how it's organized. It's mapping out how users navigate from screen to screen. And the decisions that go into this design is informed by research and represented through wireframes, which eventually leads to the UI Design.

Similar to how a blueprint in architecture eventually becomes a constructed building. In this case UX Design is the blueprint, UI Design is the building.
 

UX Design isn't just user-centered

Now you might be thinking, it's called User Experience Design, how can it not be centered on the user? Don't get me wrong. Users are obviously a crucial piece of UX Design, but there's another piece that we haven't talked about yet, which is the business.
 
I want you to take a second and think about websites or apps that you use on a daily basis. Here are a few that come to mind for me: Google, Netflix, Spotify and Lyft.
 
What do these products have in common? They're all examples of great UX Design, right?
 
They're also examples of great businesses. And these products start as a business. With a group of people wanting to create something. And it's the role of UX Design to understand what the business wants to create and what are the requirements. Based on these requirements you can then help bring the product to life. Similar to how we design products based on what the user wants.
 
To boil it down even further, we could say UX Design is User-centered: Designed based on User Requirements; And Business-centered: Designed based on Business Requirements.
 
And the trick here is finding the Sweet Spot between both sides. This is what I call the UX Design Sweet Spot. And products that live within this Sweet Spot—like the ones we looked at before—are often the most successful. 


UX Design is more than just wireframes

Now if you're not familiar with Wireframes, they're essentially a blueprint or skeleton of the content and functionality on your product. The primer before the coat of polished visual design. And even though Wireframes are an important UX Design deliverable—perhaps one of the most important—UX Design is more than just Wireframes. Wireframes are one step in the process, but there are fundamental steps that come before—like research and information architecture—and after—like testing, delivery and quality assurance.
 
Saying UX Design is just Wireframes is like saying basketball is just shooting hoops. There's a lot more to it.
 
This one is personal for me. When I was just getting started in UX Design—back when it wasn't as ubiquitous as it is now—I would be working on projects and sometimes I would be asked to design Wireframes for entire websites with a deadline of a just a few days. Aside from this being an unrealistic ask, it shows little consideration for the other steps involved in UX Design. The steps that are necessary to inform the Wireframes.
 
Remember, UX Design is a process and Wireframes are just one step in that process. But in order for you to design great Wireframes and ultimately great products, the other steps are necessary too.

UX Design isn't the same as UI Design

This one is a classic. When talking about design, people tend to throw UX and UI in the same bucket. Of course, both fields are similar, however, they are two different fields. Let's look at the differences.
 
There's a quote from Steve Jobs that sums it nicely:
"Design is not just what is looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
 
If we dissect this quote, UI Design is the "what is looks like and feels like" part. UI Design stands for User Interface design. The keyword being interface. It's what users interact with when they use a product. It's what they see every time they open an app or visit a website. And the elements that make up UI design include typography, colors, imagery, iconography, buttons, form fields and more.
 
UX design on the other hand is the "how it works" part of the quote. UX Design is the functionality on the product. It's the content and how it's organized. It's mapping out how users navigate from screen to screen. And the decisions that go into this design is informed by research and represented through wireframes, which eventually leads to the UI Design.

Similar to how a blueprint in architecture eventually becomes a constructed building. In this case UX Design is the blueprint, UI Design is the building.
 

UX Design isn't just user-centered

Now you might be thinking, it's called User Experience Design, how can it not be centered on the user? Don't get me wrong. Users are obviously a crucial piece of UX Design, but there's another piece that we haven't talked about yet, which is the business.
 
I want you to take a second and think about websites or apps that you use on a daily basis. Here are a few that come to mind for me: Google, Netflix, Spotify and Lyft.
 
What do these products have in common? They're all examples of great UX Design, right?
 
They're also examples of great businesses. And these products start as a business. With a group of people wanting to create something. And it's the role of UX Design to understand what the business wants to create and what are the requirements. Based on these requirements you can then help bring the product to life. Similar to how we design products based on what the user wants.
 
To boil it down even further, we could say UX Design is User-centered: Designed based on User Requirements; And Business-centered: Designed based on Business Requirements.
 
And the trick here is finding the Sweet Spot between both sides. This is what I call the UX Design Sweet Spot. And products that live within this Sweet Spot—like the ones we looked at before—are often the most successful. 


UX Design is more than just wireframes

Now if you're not familiar with Wireframes, they're essentially a blueprint or skeleton of the content and functionality on your product. The primer before the coat of polished visual design. And even though Wireframes are an important UX Design deliverable—perhaps one of the most important—UX Design is more than just Wireframes. Wireframes are one step in the process, but there are fundamental steps that come before—like research and information architecture—and after—like testing, delivery and quality assurance.
 
Saying UX Design is just Wireframes is like saying basketball is just shooting hoops. There's a lot more to it.
 
This one is personal for me. When I was just getting started in UX Design—back when it wasn't as ubiquitous as it is now—I would be working on projects and sometimes I would be asked to design Wireframes for entire websites with a deadline of a just a few days. Aside from this being an unrealistic ask, it shows little consideration for the other steps involved in UX Design. The steps that are necessary to inform the Wireframes.
 
Remember, UX Design is a process and Wireframes are just one step in that process. But in order for you to design great Wireframes and ultimately great products, the other steps are necessary too.

Ready to learn 
UX Design?

Ready to learn
UX Design?

Get started with our online UX course.
 

Get started with our online
UX Design course.

 

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© 2020 BUTTER DIGITAL INC.

PRIVACY POLICY  |  ACCEPTABLE USE  |  TERMS & CONDITIONS

© 2020 BUTTER DIGITAL INC.

PRIVACY POLICY  |  AUP  |  TERMS & CONDITIONS