In recent years, there's been a shift in how and why software is being developed, moving away from "it works" and moving towards "it works and it's enjoyable to use." The user is now at the center of the software being built, and user experience, or UX, is everything. But what exactly does that mean? How do you design, build, test and quantify an experience for your users? In this course, User Experience: The Big Picture, you'll learn the core concepts of UX and how it fits within the context of software development. Along the way, you'll explore basic terminology, processes, and tools used to develop software in a user-centric way. When you're finished with the course, you'll have a foundational understanding of what UX is and how to incorporate user-first practices into your projects.
Amber is a Microsoft Certified Trainer and Microsoft Certified Professional Developer with 15+ years experience working with and teaching Microsoft technologies. She also focuses on professional skills, bridging the gap between techies and non-techies. For her work as a training leader, Amber received Training magazine's 2013 Emerging Training Leader award.
Course Overview Hi there, my name is Amber Israelson and welcome to my course, User Experience, The Big Picture. I've been a developer, author and technical trainer for 15 plus years, but several years ago I realized that the work I did in software could be made better for users, which got me hooked on user experience, or UX, and I'm very excited to share with you the highlights from this fascinating and rapidly growing field. Did you know that companies who follow UX practices perform better financially than those who don't? That their key performance indicators, or KPIs, have shown improvements up to 83%? And that following UX best practices can help reduce inefficiencies in the software development lifecycle? All of that and more is true. In this course we'll cover the core concepts of UX and how it fits into the context of software development. Along the way I'll walk you through basic terminology, roles, processes and tools used to develop software in a user-centric way. We'll look at six major disciplines, including visual design, information architecture, interaction design, usability, user research and content strategy. When you're finished with the course you'll have a foundational understanding of what UX is and how to incorporate user-first practices into your projects. As a big picture course, this is meant for all technology professionals, whether you're a CTO needing to make hiring decisions, a developer wanting to improve your designs, a beginner to the creative space or some other role entirely. There are no prerequisites for this course, other than a keen interest to learn. I hope you'll join me in this journey to creating better software for our users in the User Experience, The Big Picture course at Pluralsight.
UX Core Concepts and Terminology Hi and welcome to this next module of the course. During this module, we'll cover the basic concepts and terminology of user experience. First we'll be talking about what it means for something to be useful and how that differs from being usable. These terms are often used interchangeably but there is an important difference. We'll review what a user interface is, as well as graphic and visual design. User research is an important term and concept that will come up several times in the module. So we'll go over the basics here. Human-computer interaction or HCI is a fascinating field of study, one that sometimes confused with the field of UX. But we'll take a look at that and some of the differences. We'll talk about interaction design. What it is and how it fits into the overall UX picture and the same for content strategy. Information architecture is another concept that will make an appearance a few times in this course, so let's talk about that one. And finally usability testing is also an important concept that you'll be very familiar with by the time you get to the end of this course. So let's dive into the first term.
Roles in User Experience Hi there and welcome to this next module in the course. Here we're going to talk about the Roles in User Experience. If we look in on Olivia from our fictitious wired brain coffee company, she's meeting with the development team to explain some of the roles they'll need for their first project. Here are six of the more common roles that you'll find. User researcher, information architect, interaction designer, visual or graphic designer, front-end developer, and project manager. Based on the terminology we covered in the last module, hopefully some of these things will sound familiar to you. In this module, we'll talk more about the responsibilities for these roles. One note to get started here though, just because there are six roles doesn't necessarily mean that there are six people holding these roles. It's actually quite common, especially in smaller companies and teams, that two or three people wear different hats covering all of the roles. Or maybe even more common is that one person is doing all the roles to some extent, maybe pulling in others to help with specific tasks. And I'll also note that as you're going about your UX learnings, you'll find some ambiguity in roles and role descriptions. Because UX is a modern practice is fairly new, a lot of things are a little bit fuzzy still, especially when it comes to defining roles. You might find a job description for a quote on quote, "UX designer or a UX architect, " that encompasses all of the responsibilities we'll be talking about. And you might find two job descriptions for visual designer that are quite different. So don't get too hung up on the details here. We'll be covering roles and responsibilities that generally are agreed upon in the industry and I'll keep things pretty high-level.
The UX Process: An Overview and Case Studies Welcome back everyone to this next module of the course. Here we'll take a high-level at the process that's followed on a UX project, including some case studies. Looking in on our character Olivia, she's gathered the Wired Brain Coffee team to talk through the process. Here are the six main steps. First is company and industry research, followed by user research, information architecture, wireframing, visual design, and finally, usability testing. And I should note that this process may vary depending on your project. Maybe, for example, you're just doing a small UI refresh for a particular flow on an existing website. Or, maybe you're building a site from the ground up. This process isn't meant to be one size fits all, and it can and should be modified according to how things run at your company, and the type of project you're working on. But it should give you general guidance that will produce the important deliverables needed for your project.
The UX Process: Company and Industry Research Hi there and welcome back. In the last module we took a look at the overall UX process and saw a couple of case studies to see how it works in the real world. In this module we're going to start getting into each of those steps in a little bit more detail starting with the first one of company and industry research. At the heart of this is the company, whichever company is undertaking the UX project. For the sake of our story it's going to be Wired Brain Coffee. And in doing research we really need to dig into six things which are brand, culture, reputation, industry news, competitors, and how business is run. So there's a lot to think about in this space. Let's tackle the first one which is brand.
The UX Process: User Research Hello and welcome to this next module of the course. I'm Amber Israelsen. After company and industry research are complete, the next step in the process is user research, which should be a fairly familiar concept by now. We saw in an earlier module that there are many techniques available to a user researcher, but here we're going to dig a little bit deeper. The formal definition is something we've also seen before, but let's do a quick repeat. User research focuses on understanding user behaviors, needs, and motivations through observation techniques, task analysis, and other feedback methodologies. It's all about understanding your user, what they want, what they need, and what makes them tick.
The UX Process: Information Architecture Hi there, I'm Amber Israelsen. Welcome to this next module of the course. The next step in the process is information architecture. This is another concept that should be sounding familiar to you by now. We saw this definition a little bit earlier. This is essentially the organizational structure of a site along with it's navigation and labeling system. The point here is that things should be easy to use and easy to find. Just like building an architecture of a house a software system will also have an architecture or structure. It's almost always hierarchical and there are relationships between different parts of the system. In order to find information easily, the navigation of the architecture and the language used in that navigation are taken into account. Having a good information architecture makes a site usable and it makes it really easy to find things as well.
The UX Process: Wireframing and Visual Design Welcome back everyone to this next module in the course. We're moving right along. In this module I'm actually going to combine the next two steps in the UX Process, which is wireframing and visual design, because I really want to make it clear how these are similar but very different. This is the part of the process where we get things down on paper, or perhaps digital paper. This is the fun part where we start to see the end result of what we can show to our users.
The UX Process: Usability Testing Hi there, and welcome to this next module of the course. I'm Amber Israelsen, and thanks for sticking with me. We're up to the last step in the UX process, which is usability testing. This is where we see users actually using the system, and we can determine what works and what doesn't.