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Is UX Design just design?

belhassen07 profile image Belhassen Chelbi ・1 min read

When I first discovered UX Design as a process, I was amazed and and fascinated for a lot of reasons.

What I want to talk about here is the two reasons I was fascinated about UX Design:

  • Breaking down making products into a process which is a series of steps toward the final product
  • Including the user every time which makes it a UX Design

UX Design is just design

When breaking down the problem into small problems like strategy, information architecture, interaction design and so on, what we did really is try to solve a problem the right way and that’s what design is for. So why should we call it UX Design?

UX Design isn’t just design

We all know that we’re designing for people not ourselves, that doesn’t mean we obey orders but we solve their problems through our expertise and using our own process.

What makes UX Design stand out isn’t that it is a process, neither that we’re designing for people. It’s that we start our process with empathizing with people and including them in our process as many times as possible and in a way that won’t hurt solving the problem. And that requires a lot of expertise in solving problems and understanding humans which makes it a bit different of the regular definition of design.

Now if we all embrace that we should empathize and build products that will impact users, UX Design won’t be a thing anymore, it would be just design and that’s how it should be.

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Belhassen Chelbi


UX Designer/ Front End Engineer I help businesses develop products with impact on humans.


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The way I see it, UX Design = Design + Psychology


Design has to be done for people, so yes it requires Psychology, Business, Marketing and a lot of other things. I don't we can do an equation like this.


I suspect business and marketing, whose main purposes are to improve income (by various means) shouldn't be as much a part of the UX Design puzzle as the business sector tries to make them. They certainly have little to no part of open source UX.

By "psychology," I'm not just referring to the academic field, but to the larger set of understanding how humans think, behave, and respond, as well as the broad spectrum of needs they may have while interacting.

So, while it may not be the entire equation, I still say that the majority of UX design is "what looks good" plus "what does the user need"? Ergo, design + psychology.

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Graphic design is a design discipline that focuses on aesthetics, communication and presentation. The term 'user experience design' is meant to distinguish itself from other forms of design such as architectural, industrial, and graphical design.


User experience design is trending in the digital world, but it hasn't to be linked with mobile apps and websites. What makes UX Design a thing is that UX Designers has to learn and practice how to work with and for people much more often than any other form of designers.

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The buzzword UX is really "just" product-design in the digital realm. Ideas like working with users from the start is nothing new.

I've seen "UX" defined as

  • "Designers minus graphic-design", who only do research and AI/Wireframes
  • People doing user-testing only
  • General word for all design-related work
  • The above plus frontend-development

I think it makes sense since there are challenges unique to apps/websites, that you don't have in industrial-design.


Yes Antonio, "Ideas like working with users from the start is nothing new.". Still, what I'm trying to do is to distinguish between any other designer not just graphic designers and a UX/Product Designer. If a designer include users in his process from the beginning and in almost every step of his process, he's a User Experience Designer, even if he doesn't know that.


If a designer doesn't include users from the beginning, I'd doubt what they are doing should be called "design". Maybe "speculative design", or "art".

In university (communications-design) there were no projects without a strong focus on early prototyping and testing.

My point is, design is always for users and their experience. So the "UX" is redundant IMHO.

In the article, I claimed that UX design is just design because design is about solving problems for users. UX Design wasn't a thing, it was called design, yes it's a buzzword but for the good because now we do care a lot more about users, we make more effort so what we make matches users needs, accomplish their goals and solve their problems.


Understanding your users behavior and to be intuitive about where buttons go and color schemes. Yeah a lot goes into it, especially when considering all your screen sizes and how it will be flexible. Usually I try to copy cat the trends for headers body and footers.


I would say that since X stand for Experience, then something about it should be use to design; interviews, analytics data, user tests, internal testing, AB testing. Desig by having actual knwoledge about the actual user behaviour (oposed to desired or supposed user behaviour).


I have studied Graphic Design in 1999 and I can tell you without a doubt that UI and UX part of the design, but not quite. First one lacks the psychology and information architecture, and the second one lacks drawing / art. If the design process is applied on the Internet, in its entirety, it is called WEB DESIGN. Only reason why someone split web design into smaller chunks is because industry requires quickly educated workers.

On the other side, if you go into web design, which is a form of applied arts, same as graphic and industrial design, you have to learn UI, UX, psychology, marketing and front-end development. That kind of education can last at least 4 years today just to come to junior level.


Theres more meat in the comments than the article, more like passing thought


I agree, the comments do have a point and they also made me clarify what I intend to say.