What Does a UX Designer Do?

UX stands for “user experience”, so what does a UX designer do? A UX designer’s job is to make experiences smooth and pleasant. In the digital domain, this means that a UX designer’s job is to design or improve a digital product such as an app or a website so that it’s intuitive and user-friendly. In other words, it’s his/her job to make sure the app/website/product is easy to use, is easily understood, and is not frustrating or too complicated to use in any way.

A UX designer’s job is to make things easy, practical, and convenient. This means that UX design also applies to daily real life scenarios and not just the digital domain. Let’s say you’re in a waiting room of a visa center, everyone has a number, and there’s a small TV screen that shows each person’s number when it’s their turn to receive their visa interview. If the TV is too small, people won’t be able to see their number on it from a distance… and that is inconvenient and impractical for people, because they’d have to constantly move forward to check the number on the TV up-close. A UX designer notices this problem, and might solve it by installing a larger TV so that everyone in the back of the room can clearly see their number on it when it’s displayed. Now that everyone can clearly see their number while seated, their user experience improves.

Here’s a popular example of how user experience design applies to physical products as well: You know how some ketchup bottles are opened from the top, and some have their opening on the bottom? The ones that open from the top are usually more annoying to use, especially if they’re made of glass, because users have a hard time getting the ketchup out. On the other hand, the bottles that open from the bottom are easier to use, because it’s easy for users to get the ketchup out of them, especially when they’re made of squeezable plastic. The bottles that are open from the bottom are an excellent example of a product with good UX design. Such products have users in mind, and are designed to be practical to use. Practicality is always the main aim in UX design.

In the digital domain, a UX designer designs and plans out the app, website or product, plans what screens are in it, the screens’ order (ex. which screen goes first, second, etc..), and plans how elements are placed in each screen (ex. image goes here, big button goes here, etc…). The UX designer also plans how elements interact with users (ex. If you press this button, a menu slides from the left). 

So what’s a UI designer then and what do they do? UI means “user interface”. UI designers design the look and aesthetics of digital products such as apps and websites. A UX designer’s work usually comes before a UI designer’s work. After the UX designer is done planning the app, the UI designer designs its look.

People can assume both roles simultaneously and be a UX and UI designer at the same time. They’re usually referred to as UX/UI designer, UI/UX designer, or simply “digital product designer”.

UX design is important because it’s a factor that will make your customers stay or leave. Bad UX means that your customers are going to leave your app/service and use your competitor’s app/service instead if it’s more practical to use.

If you have doubts, hire a UX designer to assess and audit your product or service. If you’re starting a new business or launching a new product, make sure you hire a good UX designer before you hire a regular designer so that you don’t fall into the mistake of launching a good looking product with horrible UX… because that will cost you customers.

I’m a freelance UX designer, so if you or someone you know might benefit from my UX design expertise and services, simply reach out to me here or refer your contacts to me. Have a look at some of my work on www.karimmuhtar.com.

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