User Experience Design In A Nutshell

The term “user experience” was coined by researcher Dr. Donald Norman who said that “no product is an island. A product is more than the product. It is a cohesive, integrated set of experiences. Think through all of the stages of a product or service – from initial intentions through final reflections, from first usage to help, service, and maintenance. Make them all work together seamlessly.” User experience design is a process that design teams use to create products that are useful and relevant to consumers.

Understanding user experience design

The iPhone is one example of a great user experience because the pleasure associated with using an iPhone extends beyond merely tapping the screen.

Apple made sure that the process of acquiring, owning, and even troubleshooting issues on their products is also an experience.

This cohesive set of factors contributes to the feeling that a person has when interacting with a product or service.

Indeed, today the iPhone transformed into one of the most powerful business platforms of our times:


This came from the understanding that the iPhone wasn’t just a piece of hardware; it needed to develop a set of extended features (through apps) that could exponentially improve its utility and UX.

Today indeed, the iPhone is not just a piece of hardware, but a mobile platform, which combines hardware, software, operating system, and marketplace.

Thus enhancing the user experience and transforming Apple into a multi-trillion dollars success.

Apple has a business model that is divided into products and services. Apple generated over $394 billion in revenues in 2022, of which $205.5 came from iPhone sales, $40 billion came from Mac sales, over $41 billion came from accessories and wearables (AirPods, Apple TV, Apple Watch, Beats products, HomePod, iPod touch, and accessories), $29.3 billion came from iPad sales, and $78.13 billion came from services.

User experience design is thus the study of how each factor shapes consumer perceptions. 

User experience is important for accessibility.

This is particularly salient given the myriad ways that consumers access content and the increasing complexity of websites.

While websites have never been more feature-rich, their success is ultimately determined by how fast the pages load or whether the content adds value.

There is no single definition that constitutes a good user experience. Instead, think of it as any experience that meets consumer needs in the context of their interaction with a product or service.

Factors that influence user experience design

To increase the odds of meaningful or valuable user experience, businesses should design experiences that are:

Useful – is the content original? Does it fulfill a need?

Usable –is the product easy to use? How painless is the return or delivery process?

Desirable – does the image, identity, or brand of a business interact with consumers in such a way that emotions are evoked? That is, does the user experience make the product or service more desirable?

Findable – can the consumer find what they need promptly? Is the company website navigable and up-to-date? Does it remove certain steps that would cause the consumer to click away?

Accessible – is the product or service readily available to those with disabilities? Is the instruction manual written in several languages?

Credible – does the product or service live up to expectations? For example, does it deliver on promises such as a money-back guarantee or extended warranty?

What are the fundamental questions that User Experience Design should ask?

User experience design should also incorporate the Why, What, and How of product use:


Or the users’ motivations for using the product. Motivation may relate to the task being performed or the outcome of the task itself.

In some cases, interaction occurs because certain values or status levels are associated with using it.


Encompassing product or service functionality.


How will the consumer use the product?

This relates to the design of product functions or features that are both aesthetically pleasing and accessible.

User experience design examples

There are countless examples of effective user experience design. Below are a few from the past two years. 


Headspace is an online mediation company founded by Andy Puddicombe and Richard Pierson in 2010. Puddicombe got the idea for the company after seeing the value of mindfulness meditation during a ten-year stint as a monk. The Headspace app is free to use for those desiring basic lessons and functionality. However, there are two subscription plans for those who want to delve deeper into mindfulness as a meditation practice.  Headspace also makes money through various and sometimes high-profile partnerships with corporate clients. Furthermore, the company is hoping to monetize its Headspace Health product. If approved, it would be one of the first such products to offer mindfulness as a therapeutic digital medicine.

As a leader in the online mediation market, it is almost incumbent that the experience of using the Headspace app be as smooth, intuitive, and mentally calming as possible.

Like competitor Calm and online language platform Duolingo, the company has used UX design and gamification to increase customer retention. 

Duolingo is an EdTech platform leveraging gamification to enable millions of users to learn languages. Duolingo leverages a hybrid between ad-supported and freemium models. Indeed, the free app makes money through advertising. Free users are also channeled into premium subscriptions with an ad-free experience and more features.

Unlike its competitors and most other businesses, user notifications are also disabled by default.

Instead, Headspace explains the benefits of enabling them and lets the user decide if they want to receive notifications and in what quantity.


Email marketing service Mailchimp employs superior UX design in its user sign-up process.

No one likes a message that says their password is not strong enough, nor do they enjoy the mundane task of creating a suitably complex password.

Mailchimp’s password guidance feature incorporates a fun and friendly message that encourages users to think of a better password.

A list of required letters, numbers and special characters is supplemented with a congratulatory checkbox popup that confirms the new password is a success.


Spotify is a two-sided marketplace where artists and music fans engage. Spotify has a free ad-supported service and a paid membership. Founded in 2008 with the belief that music should be universally accessible, it generated €9.66 billion in 2021. Of these revenues, 87.5% or €8.46 billion came from premium memberships, while over 12.5% or €1.2 billion came from ad-supported members. By 2022, Spotify had 195 million premium members and 273 million ad-supported users.

Many Spotify users look forward to the end of the year when the music platform sends them wrapped stories in their feeds.

Music lovers are presented with personalized, shareable, data-backed playlists according to their listening habits over the previous twelve months.

While personalization is important, presenting data stories in format users are familiar with and delivering a music experience worth sharing with friends are also key.

Spotify’s use of color gradients to convey emotion and add to the fun factor complement these characteristics.

The Spotify Model is an autonomous approach to scaling agile, focusing on culture communication, accountability, and quality. The Spotify model was first recognized in 2012 after Henrik Kniberg, and Anders Ivarsson released a white paper detailing how streaming company Spotify approached agility. Therefore, the Spotify model represents an evolution of agile.


Glovo is a Spanish on-demand courier service that purchases and delivers products ordered through a mobile app. Founded in 2015 by Oscar Pierre and Sacha Michaud as a way to “uberize” local services. Glovo makes money via delivery fees, mini-supermarkets (fulfillment centers that Glovo operates in partnership with grocery store chains), and dark kitchens (enabling restaurants to increase their capacity).

Glovo is a quick-commerce start-up that was founded in Barcelona in 2015.

The Glovo app was designed for the hungry user who wants their food delivered as quickly as possible.

This necessitated a simple navigation system and buttons that paired visuals with clean copy.

As one searches for a restaurant, they are presented with progressively fewer options as a specific set of needs are whittled down.

Eventually, users are presented with a list of restaurants that are either cheap, well received by diners, or offer fast service.


Airbnb is a platform business model making money by charging guests a service fee between 5% and 15% of the reservation, while the commission from hosts is generally 3%. For instance, on a $100 booking per night set by a host, Airbnb might make as much as $15, split between host and guest fees. 

The Airbnb website features a simple but prevalent search bar that encourages visitors to plan a random vacation they may not even have the time or money for.

For those that do have the means to take a break, the site offers a transparent breakdown of the total price of a stay including any cleaning and service fees. 

However, perhaps the standout UX pattern on the accommodation website is the ability to view listings alongside a map with location-based prices.

The same may also be said for the deft use of contrast and shadows to structure the site into two layers: an upper layer containing the explanatory copy and call-to-action (CTA) button and a background layer that comprises the rest of the page. 

Users can instantly differentiate between the two and intuitively understand the level with which they can interact.

This reduces cognitive load on the user – widely considered to be one of the most critical components of successful user experience design.

In 2021, Airbnb generated enabled $46.9 Billion in Gross Booking Value, and it generated $6 Billion in service fee revenues. On 2021, there were $300.6 Million Nights and Experiences Booked, ad an average service fee of 12.78%, at an Average Value per Booking, $155.94.

Key takeaways

  • User experience design involves the designing of products or services that give consumers meaningful and relevant experiences.
  • User experience design is based on consumer perceptions which are in turn based on product usefulness, accessibility, reliability, and credibility to name a few.
  • In a world with technologically advanced products and highly interactive websites, user experience design has never been more important. Design teams should not lose sight of certain evergreen concepts such as ergonomics, site speed, and valuable content.

Connected Agile Frameworks


AIOps is the application of artificial intelligence to IT operations. It has become particularly useful for modern IT management in hybridized, distributed, and dynamic environments. AIOps has become a key operational component of modern digital-based organizations, built around software and algorithms.


AgileSHIFT is a framework that prepares individuals for transformational change by creating a culture of agility.

Agile Methodology

Agile started as a lightweight development method compared to heavyweight software development, which is the core paradigm of the previous decades of software development. By 2001 the Manifesto for Agile Software Development was born as a set of principles that defined the new paradigm for software development as a continuous iteration. This would also influence the way of doing business.

Agile Program Management

Agile Program Management is a means of managing, planning, and coordinating interrelated work in such a way that value delivery is emphasized for all key stakeholders. Agile Program Management (AgilePgM) is a disciplined yet flexible agile approach to managing transformational change within an organization.

Agile Project Management

Agile project management (APM) is a strategy that breaks large projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. In the APM methodology, each project is completed in small sections – often referred to as iterations. Each iteration is completed according to its project life cycle, beginning with the initial design and progressing to testing and then quality assurance.

Agile Modeling

Agile Modeling (AM) is a methodology for modeling and documenting software-based systems. Agile Modeling is critical to the rapid and continuous delivery of software. It is a collection of values, principles, and practices that guide effective, lightweight software modeling.

Agile Business Analysis

Agile Business Analysis (AgileBA) is certification in the form of guidance and training for business analysts seeking to work in agile environments. To support this shift, AgileBA also helps the business analyst relate Agile projects to a wider organizational mission or strategy. To ensure that analysts have the necessary skills and expertise, AgileBA certification was developed.

Agile Leadership

Agile leadership is the embodiment of agile manifesto principles by a manager or management team. Agile leadership impacts two important levels of a business. The structural level defines the roles, responsibilities, and key performance indicators. The behavioral level describes the actions leaders exhibit to others based on agile principles. 

Bimodal Portfolio Management

Bimodal Portfolio Management (BimodalPfM) helps an organization manage both agile and traditional portfolios concurrently. Bimodal Portfolio Management – sometimes referred to as bimodal development – was coined by research and advisory company Gartner. The firm argued that many agile organizations still needed to run some aspects of their operations using traditional delivery models.

Business Innovation Matrix

Business innovation is about creating new opportunities for an organization to reinvent its core offerings, revenue streams, and enhance the value proposition for existing or new customers, thus renewing its whole business model. Business innovation springs by understanding the structure of the market, thus adapting or anticipating those changes.

Business Model Innovation

Business model innovation is about increasing the success of an organization with existing products and technologies by crafting a compelling value proposition able to propel a new business model to scale up customers and create a lasting competitive advantage. And it all starts by mastering the key customers.

Constructive Disruption

A consumer brand company like Procter & Gamble (P&G) defines “Constructive Disruption” as: a willingness to change, adapt, and create new trends and technologies that will shape our industry for the future. According to P&G, it moves around four pillars: lean innovation, brand building, supply chain, and digitalization & data analytics.

Continuous Innovation

That is a process that requires a continuous feedback loop to develop a valuable product and build a viable business model. Continuous innovation is a mindset where products and services are designed and delivered to tune them around the customers’ problem and not the technical solution of its founders.

Design Sprint

A design sprint is a proven five-day process where critical business questions are answered through speedy design and prototyping, focusing on the end-user. A design sprint starts with a weekly challenge that should finish with a prototype, test at the end, and therefore a lesson learned to be iterated.

Design Thinking

Tim Brown, Executive Chair of IDEO, defined design thinking as “a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” Therefore, desirability, feasibility, and viability are balanced to solve critical problems.


DevOps refers to a series of practices performed to perform automated software development processes. It is a conjugation of the term “development” and “operations” to emphasize how functions integrate across IT teams. DevOps strategies promote seamless building, testing, and deployment of products. It aims to bridge a gap between development and operations teams to streamline the development altogether.

Dual Track Agile

Product discovery is a critical part of agile methodologies, as its aim is to ensure that products customers love are built. Product discovery involves learning through a raft of methods, including design thinking, lean start-up, and A/B testing to name a few. Dual Track Agile is an agile methodology containing two separate tracks: the “discovery” track and the “delivery” track.

Feature-Driven Development

Feature-Driven Development is a pragmatic software process that is client and architecture-centric. Feature-Driven Development (FDD) is an agile software development model that organizes workflow according to which features need to be developed next.

eXtreme Programming

eXtreme Programming was developed in the late 1990s by Ken Beck, Ron Jeffries, and Ward Cunningham. During this time, the trio was working on the Chrysler Comprehensive Compensation System (C3) to help manage the company payroll system. eXtreme Programming (XP) is a software development methodology. It is designed to improve software quality and the ability of software to adapt to changing customer needs.

ICE Scoring

The ICE Scoring Model is an agile methodology that prioritizes features using data according to three components: impact, confidence, and ease of implementation. The ICE Scoring Model was initially created by author and growth expert Sean Ellis to help companies expand. Today, the model is broadly used to prioritize projects, features, initiatives, and rollouts. It is ideally suited for early-stage product development where there is a continuous flow of ideas and momentum must be maintained.

Innovation Funnel

An innovation funnel is a tool or process ensuring only the best ideas are executed. In a metaphorical sense, the funnel screens innovative ideas for viability so that only the best products, processes, or business models are launched to the market. An innovation funnel provides a framework for the screening and testing of innovative ideas for viability.

Innovation Matrix

According to how well defined is the problem and how well defined the domain, we have four main types of innovations: basic research (problem and domain or not well defined); breakthrough innovation (domain is not well defined, the problem is well defined); sustaining innovation (both problem and domain are well defined); and disruptive innovation (domain is well defined, the problem is not well defined).

Innovation Theory

The innovation loop is a methodology/framework derived from the Bell Labs, which produced innovation at scale throughout the 20th century. They learned how to leverage a hybrid innovation management model based on science, invention, engineering, and manufacturing at scale. By leveraging individual genius, creativity, and small/large groups.

Lean vs. Agile

The Agile methodology has been primarily thought of for software development (and other business disciplines have also adopted it). Lean thinking is a process improvement technique where teams prioritize the value streams to improve it continuously. Both methodologies look at the customer as the key driver to improvement and waste reduction. Both methodologies look at improvement as something continuous.

Lean Startup

A startup company is a high-tech business that tries to build a scalable business model in tech-driven industries. A startup company usually follows a lean methodology, where continuous innovation, driven by built-in viral loops is the rule. Thus, driving growth and building network effects as a consequence of this strategy.


Kanban is a lean manufacturing framework first developed by Toyota in the late 1940s. The Kanban framework is a means of visualizing work as it moves through identifying potential bottlenecks. It does that through a process called just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing to optimize engineering processes, speed up manufacturing products, and improve the go-to-market strategy.

Rapid Application Development

RAD was first introduced by author and consultant James Martin in 1991. Martin recognized and then took advantage of the endless malleability of software in designing development models. Rapid Application Development (RAD) is a methodology focusing on delivering rapidly through continuous feedback and frequent iterations.

Scaled Agile

Scaled Agile Lean Development (ScALeD) helps businesses discover a balanced approach to agile transition and scaling questions. The ScALed approach helps businesses successfully respond to change. Inspired by a combination of lean and agile values, ScALed is practitioner-based and can be completed through various agile frameworks and practices.

Spotify Model

The Spotify Model is an autonomous approach to scaling agile, focusing on culture communication, accountability, and quality. The Spotify model was first recognized in 2012 after Henrik Kniberg, and Anders Ivarsson released a white paper detailing how streaming company Spotify approached agility. Therefore, the Spotify model represents an evolution of agile.

Test-Driven Development

As the name suggests, TDD is a test-driven technique for delivering high-quality software rapidly and sustainably. It is an iterative approach based on the idea that a failing test should be written before any code for a feature or function is written. Test-Driven Development (TDD) is an approach to software development that relies on very short development cycles.


Timeboxing is a simple yet powerful time-management technique for improving productivity. Timeboxing describes the process of proactively scheduling a block of time to spend on a task in the future. It was first described by author James Martin in a book about agile software development.


Scrum is a methodology co-created by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland for effective team collaboration on complex products. Scrum was primarily thought for software development projects to deliver new software capability every 2-4 weeks. It is a sub-group of agile also used in project management to improve startups’ productivity.


Scrumban is a project management framework that is a hybrid of two popular agile methodologies: Scrum and Kanban. Scrumban is a popular approach to helping businesses focus on the right strategic tasks while simultaneously strengthening their processes.

Scrum Anti-Patterns

Scrum anti-patterns describe any attractive, easy-to-implement solution that ultimately makes a problem worse. Therefore, these are the practice not to follow to prevent issues from emerging. Some classic examples of scrum anti-patterns comprise absent product owners, pre-assigned tickets (making individuals work in isolation), and discounting retrospectives (where review meetings are not useful to really make improvements).

Scrum At Scale

Scrum at Scale (Scrum@Scale) is a framework that Scrum teams use to address complex problems and deliver high-value products. Scrum at Scale was created through a joint venture between the Scrum Alliance and Scrum Inc. The joint venture was overseen by Jeff Sutherland, a co-creator of Scrum and one of the principal authors of the Agile Manifesto.

Stretch Objectives

Stretch objectives describe any task an agile team plans to complete without expressly committing to do so. Teams incorporate stretch objectives during a Sprint or Program Increment (PI) as part of Scaled Agile. They are used when the agile team is unsure of its capacity to attain an objective. Therefore, stretch objectives are instead outcomes that, while extremely desirable, are not the difference between the success or failure of each sprint.


The waterfall model was first described by Herbert D. Benington in 1956 during a presentation about the software used in radar imaging during the Cold War. Since there were no knowledge-based, creative software development strategies at the time, the waterfall method became standard practice. The waterfall model is a linear and sequential project management framework. 

Read Also: Business Models Guide, Sumo Logic Business Model, Snowflake

InnovationAgile MethodologyLean StartupBusiness Model InnovationProject Management.

Read Next: SWOT AnalysisPersonal SWOT AnalysisTOWS MatrixPESTEL

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