Univers is a full-service graphic design studio focused on future-facing identities & websites. We simplify, clarify and strengthen brand communications.

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UX design—What it is & why it’s good

Great user experiences provide a sense of joy and the ease-of-use which bring people back again and again. Over recent years, UX design has been a buzz around websites, apps and a growing range of other fields. Smart people realise it’s value, which goes far beyond visual appeal, and aims to identify and resolve issues to gain deeply positive effects.

This post is part of a series giving descriptions of the things we do at Univers, which I thought might need a little explaining.

What is UX design?

UX stands for “user experience” and refers to the ways people interact with any aspect of a product or service. Quite often, people limit UX to only apply to a website or app but ideally it encompasses all on- and off-line interactions in any kind of organisation from businesses to clubs, healthcare, education and beyond.

UX design is the process of:

  • Defining user issues through research

  • Forming options to address the issues

  • Testing and refining the options and

  • Implementing the best option.

It’s often delivered in non-linear and iterative ways which may involve tasks with names like card sorting, wireframing and user research.

UX is also called People Centered Design or User Centered Design but some just call it “design”-- an indication of how fundamental it should be.

What is NOT UX design?

Making something visually appealing, visually relevant or visually on-brand can easily be confused with improving the UX. While visual presentation affects the all-important first impression, it does not address underlying issues which users can have, which is the role of UX design.

UX should be informed by impartial research and testing. So design which doesn’t assess options through highly objective research and testing is not high quality UX.

Why is UX design good?

Virtually everyone has had bad user experiences, be it with an impractical banking app, a frustratingly long wait to see a doctor, or an overly-complex online shop. Businesses who invest in UX design are investing in building products and services which people want to use, want to use again and want to recommend to their friends.

Businesses with large turnovers report that even small improvements to UX lead to better customer conversion and retention, which have significant effects on profit.

Customers are increasingly sensitive to UX: life is busy and we’ve come to expect smooth interactions in many ways. Getting UX right helps you remain relevant by helping your customers get what they’re after.