User Experience, or UX, represents all the things that happen to the user when the user interacts with a certain product or service – including the emotions, reactions, behavior, and attitude of the user during the whole experience. When it comes to the products and/or services a company provides, the user experience is essential.
Nevertheless, the user experience is a complex topic and at times it can be difficult to determine the most important topics that UX beginners should learn from. Therefore we have compiled a list of the top 7 UX topics which all beginners need to know.
1. User Experience Strategy
The User Experience Strategy encompasses the design, business, and process. UX strategy makers concern themselves with the reasons behind creating certain products, as well as the manners in which those products need to be created. In addition, UX strategy makers are tasked with convincing other stakeholders on the importance of a certain product and or/service. Each UX designer needs to be aware of UX strategy for several reasons, the most important being that the UX strategy will have an effect on the manner in which the UX designers should design the product and/or service.
Taking into consideration the fact that budget is an important factor when creating a UX strategy, UX designers need to be aware that this factor will have an impact on their resources, and consequently, their designs. That is why it is crucial to always be aware of the UX strategy as a UX designer.
2. User Research
User Research, as the name itself suggests, entails the process of identifying your users, gaining valuable insights from them, as well as defining the behaviors of your users. What makes User Research different from Market Research is that UX Research encompasses the evaluation of different aspects of the experience that the users had with a certain product and/or service.
A user-centric design can aid the process of solving the issues that users have with a certain product/service in a non-intrusive way. User Research focuses on the needs of the users, and it serves as a proactive means to gain great insights from your users. User Research is important to UX designers because it forms a part of the UX Strategy, and because UX designers need to ascertain that they are designing a product/service that users will want.
Samuel Gold, the writer for AssignmentMasters, who is also experienced in the field of User Research, claims that ‘’User Research can be a humbling experience and, at the same time, a valuable learning experience.’’
3. Information Architecture
Information Architecture is the process of organizing information on a website in order for it to be understandable, concise, and cohesive. It is important for easy navigation on a given website, which forms an essential part of the user experience.
Every UX designer should be aware of Information Architecture, for it forms one of the pillars in the first stage of design connected to every project a UX designer may encounter. Since organizing information falls into the category of design, having strong IA skills can aid you in creating sensible structures as a UX designer. Information Architecture for the Web and Beyond is a great read if you want to get more acquainted with IA.
4. Interaction design
Interaction Design encompasses the manners in which the users interact with products and services. In fact, Interaction Design entails a big part of User Experience design. Interaction Design is a crucial skill that UX designers need to know, hence the terms ‘Interaction Designer’ and ‘UX Designer’ are usually used interchangeably. Interaction designers concern themselves with topics such as the flow of the system, making things more compact and cohesive, preventing users from making errors, and so on. In addition, Interaction designers concern themselves with usability as well, since usability is of great importance to the User Experience. A good book to get you started on Interaction Design is Complete Guide to Interaction Design.
5. Visual Design
A good Visual Design contributes to a great user experience, which is the main reason visual design is one of the first topics a UX designer should get acquainted with. Good visuals aid the users to connect with the product/service. When it comes to digital User Interface design, some subtopics which should be taken into consideration are the layout, color, typography, as well as the animation.
UI design differs from UX design, nevertheless, visual design skills are desirable to have, and considered an asset in UX designing. Either way, UX designers need to know how to create concise and clear designs which will attract the eye of the user. This way, UX designers will be able to go from concept to product.
6. UX Metrics
UX metrics enable you to answer the question of whether your design is successful. In other words, UX metrics allows you to measure a product’s user experience. It provides objective data on your design, consequently enabling you to provide design recommendations based on that data. Usually, data and business analysts collect data as well as SEO and SEM professionals.
Nonetheless, it is important for a UX designer to team up with these professionals in order to learn more. UX designers can measure user experience on their own by using services such as Google Analytics, Crazy Egg, and Optimizely. By measuring the user experience quantitatively, the designer can get a better perspective of the user experience.
7. Content Strategy
Content Strategy entails the development and management of content for various types of media. It is useful to know because, when powered with that knowledge, UX designers can design better-looking sites. The content is the thing which gives a website meaning, therefore, content paired up with design can have a powerful effect on the user experience.
This is why content strategy is important to know and implement by UX designers. A good way to get acquainted with the content strategy is by reading the free guide UX and Content Strategy – The Project Guide.