UX is NOT UI design, visual design or making things pretty
Visual presentation can spark an initial positive emotion, but if all the other interactive factors don’t help users efficiently achieve their goals, their experience will be poor. UI design is one factor in UX and being pretty is rarely the central focus.
UX is NOT getting requirements from the stakeholders
Stakeholders have a voice in what needs to be built, but they tend to have a business perspective and different goals from the intended users.
UX is NOT deploying to production for user feedback
Skipping UX research to get something out the door runs the risk of releasing subpar features that are confusing to use and degrade user trust. This is the opposite of UX engineering.
UX is NOT asking the users what they “like”
Asking people what they “like” or “want” is not an effective way to find out their motivations, goals, or what they do in real situations, which is what you need to know to provide good UX.
UX is NOT designing solely based on guidelines and best practices
Some guidelines are prescriptive like, “Don’t capitalize whole paragraphs,” but others like “Use words & phrases that are familiar to your users” are not, and require engaging with your users.
UX is NOT surveys or focus groups
Surveys are typically for quantitative research and focus groups are ideal for market research. Neither provide the insight gained from contextual interviews and behavioral observation. Surveys & focus groups can be useful in conjunction with UX research methods.
UX is NOT functional testing or user acceptance testing
These testing techniques do not measure how difficult or easy it is for users to interact with the product without guidance and they occur too late in the dev process.
UX is NOT FAQs, demos, user manuals, or user training
There are cases where supplemental instruction is warranted but should never be used as a fallback for failing to conduct UX research.
UX research focuses on understanding user behaviors, needs, and motivations through observation and feedback.