An Introduction to User Experience Design

It took our industry a number of years to fully understand how important user experience (UX) is to everything that we build. Now that we can measure and confirm the relationship between good UX and successful websites, UX skills are in high demand: PayScale shows a median wage of about $41k for web designers, $50k for web developers and $77k for user experience designers.

At its heart, UX design is about effectively addressing the needs and circumstances of your users, to produce an interface that is comfortable and even joyful to use. As if that wasn’t enough to tackle, your users’ needs are always changing, as people continually evolve their expectations and technologies.

We’ll use this lesson to look at the underlying ageless principles behind a great user experience.

  1. Review: The Design of Everyday Things

    Donald Norman is often called the inventor of User Experience, and this review covers many important points from his seminal book. Read the article and then try to find examples in the next 24 hours where product designers have chosen lazy, easy options over better user experiences (hint: look at electrical appliances, remote controls, car dashboards, and so on).

  2. First Principles of Interaction Design

    Read or reacquaint yourself with these fundamentals of human-computer psychology, then consider how you might apply Gestalt principles in your design to meet Consistency, Learnability and other user expectations.

  3. Researching User Experience

    The more you know about your users, the better you can design for their needs and circumstances. Read through the list of user research methods and choose one or more that best fits your stage of project.

  4. Sketching User Experience

    Browse this directory of wireframe and prototype examples to understand how user experience practitioners combine design theory and user knowledge into visual ideas – wireframes or mockups – before applying any style or branding. Compare with the Wireframe Showcase that demonstrates how wireframes transform into final designs.

  5. Measuring User Experience

    I’m not going to quiz you about the equation from this article, but the Case Studies provide useful examples of what you can measure to gauge the effectiveness of UX in an interface. Consider how you might use tools like and Crazy Egg to quantify, analyze and improve elements of user experience in your project.

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