Ei introduces UX

Starting in September, UX design will become one of Ei's core competencies. Students will understand the value of UX design and learn the methodologies and practices necessary to create interactions that are beneficial to organizations and companies.

But what exactly is UX?

UX stands for User Experience and encompasses a broad spectrum of competencies, theories, and practices that range from visual design aesthetics to statistics to psychology. Oftentimes when we think of UX design, we relate the concept to technological interactions. But UX  isn’t relegated solely to websites and smartphones, laptops and apps. Interactions as typical as opening a door, doing laundry, using a microwave, or contacting customer service departments all involve UX. Its impact is wide-reaching and affects our daily lives in ways we may not even be fully aware of. Ultimately, the difference between a good or bad interaction depends on the quality of the UX design.

So, how do we create good UX? What are some of the methodologies behind the idea?

Generally, there are five distinct components of UX: design research, visual design, interaction design, implementation and experience evaluation. They vary in terminology here and there, but the basic concepts stand across the board. A UX designer considers the need of the user and researches their expectations and previous interactions, then considers the needs and capabilities of the product, service, or business. By analyzing those needs in tandem, the designer creates a prototype that best accommodates the user and is most efficient and cost-effective for the business. Finally, a good UX designer evaluates the user’s experience with the prototype and makes adjustments for continued improvement as expectations and experiences evolve.

A quick look at the chart below will give you a good idea of what each component involves and the different values and fundamentals that can result from those components.

(image source: http://fitzgeraldsteele.wordpress.com/2009/11/16/ux-designerdeveloper-core-competencies/)
(image source: http://fitzgeraldsteele.wordpress.com/2009/11/16/ux-designerdeveloper-core-competencies/)

Image source: http://fitzgeraldsteele.wordpress.com/2009/11/16/ux-designerdeveloper-core-competencies/

While extensive at first glance, UX design can be easily tackled through a number of brainstorming, research, and thought tools. Concept mapping, user and task flowcharts, and wireframing are just a few processes that can facilitate good UX design. At Ei, we will guide students through the fundamental components of UX, helping them put into practice the methodologies needed to create and improve positive, useful designs in any situation.

To learn more about UX, check out the links below. And if you have any questions before you apply, just send a note to hello[at]expinstitute.com.

Hack Design: An Introduction to User Experience Design Smashing Magazine: What is User Experience Design?What the #$%@ is UX design?