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  • Writer's pictureElena Drakulevska

What on Earth is UX Design and why does it matter in Data Visualization?!

Updated: May 31

Have you ever poured your heart into creating a complex report, believing it to be a masterpiece? And, then you present it to your manager, or your client, and you find your audience underwhelmed? Even though you've got all the data and followed every best practice, it's like your report just isn't striking the right cord...

Don't worry, you're not alone; the missing piece might just be User Experience (UX) Design.

A desperate person in front of a laptop

What is UX Design?

UX Design, short for User Experience Design, is all about placing the user at the center of product development, and it's no different when it comes to data visualization.

To get a better understanding of UX Design, try to recall these moments: Ever pushed a door that you were supposed to pull, or vice versa? Or better yet, how many times has this happened to you?

An illustration of a sign saying PUSH and PULL and a person pushing, i.e. pulling a door.

It's frustrating, right? Well, here's some good news—it's not your fault!

This is a classic example of bad design and it's what we call a "Norman Door", named after the design guru Don Norman. His work has had a significant impact in the field of UX Design and it all started with a simple question:

How can something as simple as a door be so confusing?

There is not so much you can do to a door, right? You can either open it or close it, and yet we all struggle opening doors. Norman doors are a great illustration of why design matters, and why we need to care about UX Design in particular.

They represent the core of UX Design philosophy—simplicity and user-centricity. If a door, a seemingly simple object, can cause this much confusion, just imagine the impact of a complex report or data visualization!

Curious to explore the complexity of doors and design even further? I recommend checking out Don Norman's book, The Design of Everyday Things.

Beyond Aesthetics

UX Design is not just about aesthetics; it's about how a user feels about interacting with, or experiencing a product. Or in our case, a report. The goal is to make the experience seamless, intuitive, and enjoyable. It's the difference between a user-friendly report that everyone understands and one that falls flat despite containing all the necessary data.

Stay tuned for more insight about UX Design and some handy tips for integrating UX Design into your data viz projects. Share your own stories or challenges in the comments below and let's tackle the world of data visualization together!

If you missed the launch of MoonStory, check out my first post. And, don't forget to subscribe.

Happy learning :)

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