The User Experience

I recently began an internship in User Experience design, a field I’ve been interested in since I first learned of its existence in college. UX Design is multi-faceted and includes design, strategic thinking, and thoughtful planning.

It’s been an exciting month full of learning and observation. Here are 5 things I’ve learned about UX design so far:

1. UX designers are the content keepers: For most marketing websites, content is king. You want to tell a brand’s story, and the most effective way to do so is to thoughtfully combine of text and imagery. As a UX designer, it’s important to safeguard the content of a website. We must make sure that the most useful content is not sacrificed or forgotten in the design process.

2. Watch the hierarchy: Where you place elements and their order is an amazingly important part of UX design. It is a UX designer’s job to decide what the most important elements of a website are and then design accordingly. Making the important content the most visible and/or prominent is a core component of UX design.

3. Words are important, too: When dealing with a website’s text (especially on an About page) you need to know what type of information will be presented, and its textual amount. We employ “content wireframes” to organize this important copy and help build a textual narrative. This is one of my favorite discoveries about UX– that it can involve narrative storytelling along with the visual design.

4. You’re the starting point:  Following the initial work of business development and onboarding from project managers, the UX team is the first to touch a project. At least at the agency where I’m interning, the UX team is the first to dive into a new project once it has begun. The initial steps vary for each project, but they can include wireframing, sketch sessions (with the design team and/or the client), and content audits.

5. Keep it simple, give it space, and less is more: UX design is essentially the layout and guiding force for final website designs; therefore, they need to be basic, simple, and thoroughly thought-through. When working through the UX process, it is essential to:

  1. Think of the website’s user
  2. Envision their journey
  3. Come up with creative solutions to their problems
  4. Distill this all down into a flow and design that is easy to follow and implement.

I love this way of thinking, and I hope to further refine the presentation of my ideas and concepts into simple and logical designs. Stay tuned!

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