Ana Popa
February 25, 2021

Understand user experience design even if you are not a UX designer

Understand user experience design even if you are not a UX designer.

The term UX design is popping up a lot. Every startup or digital business is looking to hire UX designers. Despite all the popularity, there is still confusion on what UX design means and why it is so important to follow a user centered design method.

UX (user experience) describes how users feel about a product, while UX design is the process of improving that experience. The user experience design process is all about making sure that everything in the digital product or service has intent. This means taking into consideration and foresee every action users may take. Also, understand the users’ expectations and pain points at every step.

In “The elements of user experience” book, J.J. Garret describes a five layer framework of UX:

  1. The surface is the visual part of the product. Colors, graphics, and illustrations are essential to attract people to a product. The visual design of a product is key to making the product look appealing and convincing.
  2. The skeleton is the product interface. If we take out the graphic layer of a website, we’ll see a basic structure that repeats itself. For example, top left is the logo; top right is the user account, and at the bottom is the footer. A skeleton is a structured set of elements that fit together. Have you ever opened a website and wondered why it's so intuitive to navigate? It’s because the site uses the same basic structure as other websites, a web standard. Using the same skeleton gives familiarity and efficiency to the user.
  3. The structure is the navigation and the information architecture of the app. The purpose is to guide the user through the product effortless. Help them to not get lost in the way to reaching their goal.
  4. The scope is the process of evaluating user needs. Also, convert them into requirements for a solution that delivers value to the end user.
  5. The strategy begins with identifying user’s needs and business goals. It is the big picture of the product.

The elements of user experience


When a user interacts with the app, the usage starts from top to bottom (1 to 5). The first layer is the surface. The surface allows a user to perceive the app at a glance. It’s what attracts them to download the app and what makes them decide to delete without even trying. The same goes for all layers, the user can continue to the next layer or stop.

Contrary, when building a digital product, the action starts from bottom to top (5 to 1). The strategy is the first step that decides the other layers. Each layer depends on and is influenced by the previous one. Every choice made at each step opens and closes options for the next one. Sometimes, the upper layers influence the bottom ones too. A good approach is to not complete a layer if the previous one is not completed. Meantime, start the next layer before finishing the previous one. 

The elements of set experience

 UX design is not an isolated step in the product development process. It is a skill applied throughout the entire journey. Good UX design is natural, effortless, and inspiring.

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