What Is User Experience Design?
User experience design encompasses every aspect of the user's interaction with a product, service or company that make up the user's perceptions of the whole.
User experience design as a discipline is concerned with all the elements that together make up that interface, including layout, visual design, text, brand, sound, and interaction. User experience design works to coordinate these elements to allow for the best possible interaction by users. (Source: User Experience Professionals Association, Usability Body of Knowledge, Glossary)
- Unlike programs that focus on human-computer interaction, we prepare students for professional roles as user experience designers who will optimize interactions.
- User experience design, as we see it, seeks to solve specific problems for particular systems, applications or interfaces in order to help an organization realize its business goals while providing users with experiences they’d like to repeat.
- Our curriculum revolves around a design model we synthesized from design models found in the literature. The process model we teach — "LUMEN" — involves five stages:
- Learn (L): When we are faced with a new design project, the first thing we do try to find out as much as we can about the client, the users, and any other stakeholder. We look at what their competitors are doing and see what we can learn from that. We might conduct interviews, surveys or focus groups to learn about who and what we will be working with.
- Understand (U): Taking what we’ve learned in our research, we develop models such as personas, and design principles to help guide our designs.
- iMagine (M): Using the models we’ve developed, we design solutions for our clients. Here we develop schematics that we can later hand off to developers/engineers to build.
- Evaluate (E): As we design, we must constantly evaluate our ideas, so we conduct usability studies along the way to make sure our designs will actually work.
- iNform (N): Communication of our designs is crucial to implementing them. So here, we focus on the professional preparation of deliverables and reports.
What Can I Do With This Background?
Typical job titles for user experience design professionals include, but are not limited to, the following:
- User experience designer
- Information architect
- Interaction designer
- Usability engineer
- User interface designer
- Experience strategist
The types of companies that hire user experience design professionals can vary widely across industries and organization types. User experience as a discipline and field is like accounting in that companies have an accountant or accounting department even if they're not a banking or financial services company.
What Courses Do I Have to Take?
The UXD concentration at Kent State has two types of courses: Core/Introductory (6 credit hours) and Carousel/Specialist (27 credit hours). Students take a Culminating Experience course (3 credits) during the last semester of coursework.
The Master of Science degree with a concentration in user experience design is a 36 credit-hour degree online program. We also offer a combined Master of Library and Information Science/Master of Science option.