UX for developers


Congratulations, you're a designer now!

So what the bloody hell even is UX, anyway!?

2 design disciplines

  • UX = User Experience

  • UI = User Interface


UX != UI

Other terms you might hear

  • Interaction / Interactive Designer
  • CX = Customer Experience
  • Service Design
  • Human-Centered Design
  • Design Thinking
  • Others?

A dirty secret...

UX (user experience) as a discipline is messy, imperfect, filled with overlapping methodologies. It's an umbrella term that's so broad it can feel meaningless. It sometimes lacks internal consistency. It's a work in progress. It's immature and it needs to get better.


This isn't an exuse to dismiss UX

All of the javascript

Why should I care about UX?

Your ability to practice introspection and empathy and then use your learning in each to develop the other, in other words, your ability to practice inpathy, shifts your mindset around how you interact with others.

-Aimee Gonzalez-Cameron

UX domains

  • UX Research

  • UX Design

1. UX Research

Qualitative vs Quantitative data

Qualitative vs Quantitative data


A. About the user

B. Can they use the thing?

C. Do they want to use the thing?

A. Learn about the user

User interviews

Card sorting

Diary studies

Co-design workshops

Ethnographic studies

Quantitative surveys

B. Can they use the thing?

Usability testing

(Remote, in-person, in a lab)

Guerilla testing

A/B Testing

Eye tracking

C. Do they want to use the thing?

Product-market fit

Gateway test

A/B Testing

So we have data, now what?


Affinity mapping

Sharing themes and insights

Quantitative metrics

Thick data analysis

UX artefacts to communicate learnings

Research Artefacts

Affinity Mapping

User Personas

Customer Journey

Empathy Mapping

Diary Study

Further reading

Guide to UXR

Just Enough Research

Affinity Mapping Tips & Tricks

Lean User Research

Lean UX Hypothesis Statement

Validating Product Ideas through Lean User Research

2. UX Design

UX Design considers

Cognitive load (how many nodes?)

Mental map (how to get around)

User empathy (emotions and needs)

Business needs (how can we succeed?)

UX Design decides

Which components go on the screen

Which order they go in

Animation and motion of UI

Accessibility (supporting users of all kinds)

How to name & label elements on the screen

Visual hierarchy and relationships

User flows (multi-step processes)

UX Design produces

Accessibility audits

Site map

User-centered labels

User Stories

User Flows

Moodboards & Storyboards

Wireframes & Prototypes




Cool story!

Now let's talk collaboration

2 kinds of designers

Why can it be so hard to talk to designers about design?

Let's apply some user empathy

  • feedback without context
  • back seat designing
  • git-blame or competetive work cultures
  • focus on aesthetics or trends over strategy

If developers got feedback like designers...

Hey! I know this isn't a PR yet, but why did you pick that class name...?
Hey - FYI I think I saw that library in use at company XX the other day. Don't want to copy code, hey!
I'm not a programmer, but, that function looks awfully complex... Shouldn't it be simpler!?

So how do we do it better?

Focus on...

Getting the context

The intended audience

Design strategy

For example

I had some responses to your design, but I'm not sure I have all the most recent context. Could you give me a quick update before I offer any feedback?

For example

I'm concerned this design will be hard to use for our target audience because the added complexity increases cognitive load...

For example

Can we chat about hierarchy of information on this view? I think the visual prominence given to XX is unnecessary given our strategy of getting users to focus on YY.

Aesthetic preference
Design strategy

We try not to get them mixed up

Activity time!

Let's practice some design critique

Given a door handle...

Which choice do you think is more strategic
(less about personal tastes)?

  • A) Users may not see it on a black door
  • B) It just doesn't 'pop' enough

Given a checkout flow...

Which choice do you think is more strategic?

  • A) I don't like this shade of turquoise
  • B) I'm not sure which is the primary button

Given this hospital software...

Which feedback do you think is more strategic?

  • A) It's too much information to process
  • B) It looks old skool

Activity time!

Let's practice some UX design

The problem

Eric is trying to save money on household costs.

Research learnings

  • He thinks he could probably spend less on food and cleaning supplies he buys regularly
  • Doesn't want to compromise on ethics or quality
  • He is time poor
  • Doesn't enjoy shopping around
  • He'd love to save time

Bullet points & notes

1 minute

Sketch your first idea

2 minutes

Crazy 8s (mini)

Share & compare

2 minutes


The space of possible solutions to any given user problem is infinite

More resources

Further reading

Laws of UXGood UIUX Checklist

User Experience Design Process

The Design of Everyday Things

Don't Make Me Think, Revisited

UX Design Methods and Deliverables

Smashing Magazine UX Overview

Bonus activity



Get the slides