The Beginner’s Guide to User Experience (UX)

User experience (UX) comprises the entire interaction a person has with a product, application, system, or service. To create something that is truly user-friendly and accessible, it is crucial to develop products that connect with users. 

Find out how to connect with users by exploring the critical aspects of UX, from its fundamental elements to the nuances that distinguish UX from UI.

What are the 5 Elements of User Experience?

To create efficient and user-centric products, it’s important to understand the five core elements of user experience design. These elements include:

  1. Strategy: Defining user needs and business goals. This phase involves understanding what the users want and how the business can meet these needs.
  2. Scope: Determining the functional and content requirements. This includes the features and content the product will offer.
  3. Structure: Organizing information and designing interaction flows. This step ensures that the product’s architecture is logical and easy to navigate.
  4. Skeleton: Designing interface elements and controls. It involves creating wireframes and defining the layout of the product.
  5. Surface: Creating the product’s visual design, AKA the user interface (UI) design. This is where the aesthetics come into play, ensuring the product is visually appealing and aligns with the brand’s identity.

Combining these elements allows a UX designer to craft a cohesive and engaging user experience.

What is UX vs UI?

While UX (User Experience) and UI (User Interface) are often used interchangeably, they refer to different aspects of product design:

  • User Experience (UX) focuses on the overall feel of the experience. It encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products. UX is about making a product easy and enjoyable to use.
  • User Interface (UI) is about the specifics of the product’s interface. It involves the design of the visual elements, including buttons, icons, spacing, typography, and color schemes. UI is more about the aesthetics and how the product looks.
An illustration of an iceberg with the top labeled "UI" including elements like branding, color, typography, graphics, and icons. The submerged part, labeled "UX," lists user motivations, company goals, information architecture, research, personas, wireframes, content strategy, usability testing, interaction design, and understanding the problem. The infographic visually emphasizes the depth and complexity of UX compared to the more visible UI elements.

While UX and UI are different disciplines, UI is a necessary part of UX—encompassing the “Surface” element mentioned above. A product’s UI ensures the user journey (UX) captures attention and aligns with a company’s branding.

What is User Experience with an Example?

To illustrate what user experience is in practice, consider the process of using a ride-sharing app:

  • Step 1: The user opens the app and is greeted with a clean, easy-to-navigate interface (UI).
  • Step 2: The app quickly locates the user’s position and suggests nearby rides (UX and UI).
  • Step 3: The user selects a ride, views the driver’s profile and ETA, and feels confident in the service (UX).
  • Step 4: After the ride, the app prompts the user to rate their experience and provide feedback (UX).

In this example, the user experience includes everything from the ease of finding and booking a ride to the feeling of safety and satisfaction with the service. This comprehensive approach to user experience ensures that users will return to the app for future rides.

Is UX Design Coding?

UX design does not always involve coding. While some UX designers might have coding skills, their primary focus is on understanding and improving the user’s interaction with the product. 

While UX is most commonly associated with digital products, its application is not limited to the digital medium. From creating an unboxing experience to figuring out the simplest way to connect a physical product to an application, UX can be omnichannel.

UX design involves research, prototyping, testing, and iterating based on user feedback. However, having a basic understanding of coding can be beneficial for UX designers to better communicate with developers and understand the technical limitations and possibilities of the design.

Mabbly’s Approach to Effective UX Design

Creating an effective user experience requires adhering to established principles and best practices. Here are six key UX design principles:

  1. Understand Your Users: Conduct thorough user research to understand their needs, behaviors, and pain points. This insight is critical for creating relevant and valuable experiences.
  2. Keep It Simple: Keep designs simple and intuitive. Avoid unnecessary complexity that could confuse users.
  3. Be Consistent: Maintain a consistent design throughout the product to enhance learnability and usability. This includes using the same visual elements, terminology, and actions.
  4. Prioritize Accessibility: Ensure the product is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. This involves considering aspects like color contrast, text size, and screen reader compatibility.
  5. Get Feedback: Provide users with clear feedback about their actions. This can be through visual cues, notifications, or error messages.
  6. Evolve Your Design: UX design is an ongoing process. Continuously test and refine the product based on user feedback and analytics to improve the experience.

Implementing these UX design principles, UX principles, and UX best practices can significantly enhance the overall user experience. It’s also essential for user experience designers to stay updated with the latest trends and tools in the industry to keep their skills sharp.

UX with a Digital Marketing Agency

Collaborating with a digital marketing agency for UX design guarantees that your product aligns with user needs and your brand strategy. These agencies bring expertise in user research, persona development, and data-driven design, creating intuitive and visually appealing interfaces. 

By integrating UX with marketing strategies, you can enhance user engagement, drive conversions, and build brand loyalty, resulting in a cohesive and effective digital presence.