It’s Messy, Profitable and Collaborative, but What is UX Design?

The way Tory Hargro, Design Manager of USA Today, sees it, if designers are simply problem solvers then UX designers solve other people’s problems. That’s where empathy —a reoccurring theme this weekend — comes into play.

Tory Hargro during "The Move from Visual to UX Design"
Tory Hargro during “The Move from Visual to UX Design”

Tory defined empathy as “Your pain in my heart.” Not only are we designing to help people with their challenges, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that we’re designing for people who are unlike us. “A good designer should be able to solve a problem for a 7-year-old or a 70-year-old,” Tory said.

The next question is how? Tory laid out the “beta” USA Today process for UX. Listen, collect insight, create a concept, prototype, and start from the beginning, he said. Basically you’re never done because there is always room for improvement.

Shayli Jimenez, Senior Information Architect at Gannett Digital, gave listeners a more macro view of UX design. UX designers focus on wire frames and viewers’ behavior. In order to be successful, Jimenez said UX designs should design defensively, adaptably, profitably and sustainably. 

Though at the end of the day UX can be expensive, Jimenez encouraged the audience to utilize this rubric available to everyone (usat.ly/uxrubric) as a starting point. If your company does have a research department, make sure you are using their data. Other than that it’s important to just bite the bullet and pick a slice of the data you have. From there you should see how your audience reacts and revise.