11 Mar 2024 8 min read




Senior UX/UI Designer, Ultimate

What is UX design

What is UX design

If you’ve ever had a bad experience using a product or service and wanted to rip your hair out then you have experienced bad UX design (or the lack of it).

UX design is a field of work that aims to help reduce friction for users of a particular product or service, untangle complex journeys and turn them into clear paths. Great UX design is often achieved by understanding the root cause of problems, not making assumptions, and successfully reducing the barriers between the user and the thing they’re trying to achieve.


The history of UX design

You could argue that informal UX design has always existed, as it simply relates to a designer improving an experience for a user. In reality, UX design as a defined field has only existed within the dot-com boom and the development of digital products.

Today, UX design is an ever growing field within industries with digital products, such as software and digital services. The value of great UX has become clear in recent years with big tech giants like Facebook and Amazon, investing heavily into UX to ensure that their products provide users with the very best experience in a highly competitive market.

Why is UX design important?

The need for UX design becomes more apparent as technology and our use of digital products and services becomes more prevalent. Not only are people utilising digital products more than ever, but their standard for those products is also being raised. As a business, having a fantastic product or service is just the tip of the iceberg.

A massive impact UX design has had on the industry and the world as a whole, is through accessibility (link to accessibility blog). UX is about creating a smooth, accessible journey for ALL users, which encompasses all needs – from simplifying language, to making websites accessible for those with motor or visual impairments.

Bad UX can cause an immeasurable amount of trouble for businesses by not understanding the root cause to issues that their users are facing. As an example, a company may experience a large amount of support calls regarding password resetting, the quantity of calls is causing an increased wait time which is frustrating users. In this instance, increasing the amount of employees in the support centre to reduce wait time could reduce user frustration. However, this requires serious investment into staffing and still does not address the root cause of the problem. By identifying and addressing the issues with the password resetting journey, you could make improvements that may remove the need for a support centre entirely, saving considerable costs to the business.

Good UX has the power to reduce user frustration with a particular software platform, leading to decreases in users quitting, cancelling subscriptions or contracts, which leads to increased revenue and happier customers. Creating these positive experiences can also lead to increases in traffic and brand awareness and loyalty, which will further improve business performance.

What is UX design.

The difference between UX and UI

UX and UI design are often confused and it’s easy to see why as they are both sides of the same coin. UI design refers to the interactivity, look and feel of a digital product or service, whereas UX design (as the name suggests) looks at the overall experience of the user of a digital product or service.

Diving a little deeper, UX design can often involve conducting research and testing, understanding user needs, and designing user journeys to create seamless and meaningful experiences. UI design takes the information and groundwork of UX to develop visual, interactive elements of a product to create aesthetically pleasing interfaces.


Careers in UX design

UX design can often be a natural career change for designers with backgrounds in either web design or more creative disciplines like graphic design, however it can also be a great career for people with backgrounds in research focused careers. A great UX designer can empathise with users, breakdown complex problems, and aren’t afraid to get it wrong. UX design often takes an iterative approach to work which can involve multiple updates to designs to improve and tweak them over time. A UX designer’s job is never done in that regard and that can sometimes be a hard pill to swallow for some people. However, the more UX designers that join the industry, the more focus we will have on creating fulfilling and enjoyable experiences for everyone to enjoy in the digital space.


For more information on UX at Ultimate, read more here.