User experience design
From the overall structure to the elements that make up a page, making sure a website is easy to use is the most important aspect of design.
Call it user experience design, UX design, usability design, user-centred design or UCD, it amounts to the same thing. And, like frontend development, user experience design is too broad to talk about without breaking it down further.
For me, it starts with service design; that high-level vision of how a service should fit together and function. Understanding the constraints of various parts of the service, designing the rest around that, influencing stakeholders; service design looks at the full start to finish (or end-to-end) user journeys. I’ve worked on everything from sign-up processes and documentation/guidance, to email notifications and fixing pain points with the human beings that sit behind a digital product/service.
Interaction design is where it gets really interesting for me; controlling the way a user interacts with a website, product or service. I love digging into the routes a user might take on their journey, as well as the fine details of an interface that affect how they interact with it. The designs I produce are carefully thought through, inclusive, accessible, user-centred and tested with real users. Some deliverables I regularly produce:
- User journey diagrams, user flows and sitemaps
- More detailed mock-ups and basic prototypes in software like Sketch and Figma
I’m a solid content designer, content design being inextricable from these user journeys. The language used can greatly affect how a user progresses through a service, as well as how they interact with individual elements on a page.
User research is often counted as part of user experience design, and I’ve done my fair share, but I prefer to work with the information gleaned by a user researcher (as well as customer satisfaction scores, analytics and other performance metrics) to inform, iterate and validate my designs.