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  • Writer's pictureZahra

How to Become a UX Designer from a Traditional Designer?

Updated: Dec 28, 2021

We are in the age of digital, and people do almost everything online. Digital transformation has been made even more urgent for small and medium businesses resistance to change with the current COVID-19 pandemic. Almost every other person who has access to a smartphone and internet should have bought something online.

This makes going digital, having a presence in digital platforms, and knowing how to perform digital marketing more crucial for every business, big and small.

But what does going digital mean?

Going digital simply means having a presence online be it on a website, a Facebook page, Instagram account, etc. But having that alone may not actually deliver your business much success if nobody knows about it. Then comes digital marketing.

Similar to traditional marketing, digital marketing is the act of promoting products and services via online channels using digital platforms instead of traditional platforms e.g. TV, radio, magazine. The real goal of digital marketing is to help you get noticed, get found, find new leads, and turn them into paying customers, etc.

Like traditional marketing, there are various channels of digital marketing with the likes of social media, email, content marketing, and website. Each of these channel has its strengths and audiences and in order for them to reach its maximum potential, a good user experience (UX) design is important.

What is UX design?

UX, which stands for user experience, design is the improvement of the quality of user interactions with a product and service. The design has to take into consideration all the possible interactions that a user can have while navigating the digital platforms of the business like on a website or an app. Good user experience (UX) design helps to lead a user towards a conversion (to sales, to a lead, etc.) and could create a better customer experience as compared to when they are to go to your competitor’s digital assets.

Generally, it focuses on the overall experience of a user. A good UX design attempts to find the problems a user may face when navigating through the digital asset of a business and comes out with some solutions before it even happens.

History of User Experience (UX) design

In 4,000BC, about 6,000 years before, the Chinese came out with a philosophy term called “Feng Shui”, literally meaning wind and water in the Chinese language.

Feng Shui in those days used to be skewed more towards the arrangement of objects in the most user-friendly way that helps the user to have a better experience. You can apply Feng Shui to anything or anywhere, from furniture to an office or a bedroom, and it takes care of every aspect from layout to materials.

Evidence has also shown that in 500BC, ancient Greeks created and designed their tools, houses, and workplaces based on human factors. They took care of the lightning, objects arrangements, and decoration of a room in order to make it user-friendly.

In the early 1900s, Frederick Winslow, a mechanical engineer, navigated wide research about the interactions between workers and their tools and found out that systematic management is a solution to inefficiency.

Then in the 1940s, Toyota developed its human-centred production system. Toyota’s design and production are now a lot based on paying attention to users’ feedbacks.

This was a massive step in UX history that made perfect interactions between humans and products.

In 1966, Walt Disney made another big step towards the UX design revolutionary. He built Disney World based on people’s imagination and expectations, making the founder of Walt Disney one of the first better known UX designers.

The 1970s was the era of personal computers. In those years, Xerox’s PARC research centre invented lots of developments that set the personal computing that we know today.

Then in 1984, Apple invented its graphical user interface, built-in screen, and mouse. Apple also developed its first iPad in 2001 and its first iPhone in 2007 that focuses heavily on the user experience of its products.

Before 1995, UX had no label. In this year, Donald Norman coined the term user experience (UX) design to describe all the things that UX does.

So how can a traditional designer become a good UX designer?

1. Think from a User’s Perspective

One of the most important elements to be a good UX designer is the need to be able to think from a user’s perspective. You can’t meet your customers’ expectations unless you have empathy towards them.

Always try to think about the various ways that one can interact with your products and services. Try to find out what a customer expects from your brand and what challenges they may face while you are designing your user experience (UX) design.

2. Learn from Other Designers’ Experiences

Learning from other designers’ experiences via their work and issues can help you improve your design skills. When you learn from others’ experiences and mistakes, you won’t make the same mistake that they have made, enabling you to advance faster in the learning curve.

3. Read More, Watch More

Try to read articles and interviews about user experience (UX) design and gain useful insights from them. When you start practising with no guidance, you may waste time by going one big round.

By acquiring knowledge through these articles and interviews, you can actually trial and error in a much safer way, allowing you to get results faster.

4. Concentrate on One Branch of Design

When you focus on different branches of UX design, you may get confused not knowing which direction to focus on. Always try to concentrate on one branch of UX and execute it using the same methodology to see if it fits your style.

Moving on to different ways of doing after you have mastered one will make it easier for you to see the pros and cons of each style.

5. Talking to End Users

Communication with end-users is essential for UX designers. Try to talk to as many customers as you can. But take note of the words you use so that you won’t get a guided answer. Try to express your thoughts and ideas clearly while listening to your customer’s suggestions and expectations.

User experience (UX) design is the centre of every business, and without that, a business can’t succeed. The tips in this article help you to be an expert UX designer. But try to be confident about what you do to create attractive designs.

6. Learning from The Practitioners

The fastest way to learn the best practices with proper guidance will definitely be to take up a UX course and learn from the trainers in person.

When you are looking for a good design school, try to see who their trainers are. Are they current practitioners? Is the course more hands-on or theory?

By this way, you can be sure that you are learning something current and also from practising instead of textbook-style learning where you can just learn from reading UX design books.

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