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Design & User Experience

Design & User Experience

A high-level overview of design and user experience concepts. I express a (somewhat controversial) viewpoint on "UX Design" and "UX Designers", and posit that UX is actually the end-product of our efforts, not a new design philosophy nor a job description.

Originally presented to the IA/UX Rochester (@IAUXROC) group in Rochester, NY.

Links to the various references and books mentioned are available here:

…and for the curious, here are my notes that I collected in WorkFlowy before building the Keynote presentation:


Nathan Henderson

July 18, 2012


  1. & IA/UX Rochester - 7/18/2012 Nathan Henderson - @nathos Design

    User Experience
  2. What is Design?

  3. Design is functional

  4. Design without purpose is Art

  5. “Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what

    it looks like. People think it’s this veneer — that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” – STEVE JOBS
  6. Design is too often wrongly taken for the indulgent frosting

    on a functional interface. Have you ever overheard a colleague declare, “It would be nice if we could have a sexy interface, but people care more about what the site does than how it looks”? – AARRON WALTER Designing for Emotion
  7. Dieter Rams

  8. Good design can be austere/minimalist

  9. None
  10. Something beautiful can be poorly designed

  11. None
  12. None
  13. In our industries, we usually talk about designing for people

  14. Lets call them Users

  15. Who is a User?

  16. Users =/= Clients

  17. Users =/= Managers

  18. Users are the people who actually interact with your product

    or service
  19. Personas

  20. Personas • Common concept in marketing & interaction design •

    Represents goals and behavior of a hypothesized group of people • Useful: Based on empirical data and research • Caution: Based on guesses & assumptions; can be limited by imagination, tinted by personal biases.
  21. User Testing

  22. User Testing • Can be an effective way to get

    feedback on a small scale • Designers can sometimes be too close to a project to think objectively • Not a panacea. Some successful companies don’t user-test new products • Design for yourself
  23. Interactions

  24. Users + User Interface

  25. Experience

  26. What is an Experience?

  27. Your Product/Service User Time Extraneous Circumstances Experience + = +

  28. Your Product/Service User Time Extraneous Circumstances Experience + = +

  29. • can be observed • are unique • are emotional

  30. Experiences are a unique combination of factors and the emotional

    response of your user
  31. Can an experience be designed?






  37. Personal Example

  38. None
  39. None
  40. Other Side of the World

  41. This experience was not designed.

  42. This experience was not designed. The user's possible behavior was

    anticipated, and the product's behaviors & user interface were designed (Interaction Design .
  43. User Experience?

  44. UX is more than Usability

  45. UX is cross-discplinary

  46. Information Architecture Content Creation Visual Design Interaction Design Human-Computer Interaction

    Human Factors Industrial Design Sound Design Customer Service Architecture Merchandising Film & Video Engineering
  47. User Experience Design?

  48. is it a thing?

  49. can experiences be designed?

  50. is this new label even necessary?

  51. is UX Design simply Good Design?

  52. User Experience Designer?

  53. it’s trendy

  54. None
  55. it’s clearly overused

  56. it’s ill-defined

  57. None
  58. None
  59. None
  60. None
  61. None
  62. None
  63. None
  64. None
  65. most of the self-proclaimed “UX Designers” out there can’t explain

    what they do* * anecdotal




  70. let’s take back the term

  71. UX is the product. Not a person, not a role,

    not a job.
  72. Final Thoughts

  73. User Experience is Cultural

  74. User Experience is Cultural • It can’t be bolted on

    • It must exist at all levels of an organization • It requires buy-in from all players • Team members must be empowered • UX is not one person’s job or role
  75. Emotion is Important, but so are Fundamentals

  76. Emotion is Important, but so are Fundamentals • Design “Laws”:

    Hick’s Law Fitts’s Law • Typography • Color Theory • Golden Ratio • Surprise & Delight heightens emotional response • Pattern Recognition • Skeuomorphism • Baby-face bias • Behavioral & Evolutionary Psychology
  77. Disruptive products & services often aren’t designed from user feedback

  78. None
  79. None
  80. None
  81. None
  82. None
  83. iPhone

  84. Build Something Great

  85. Further Reading

  86. Universal Principles of Design

  87. Emotional Design

  88. Don’t Make Me Think

  89. Designing for Emotion

  90. Guy Kawasaki

  91. Q&A

  92. None