UX Design as a niche?

This semester I plan to undertake an ethnographic research project on my niche. Fascinated with digital platforms, I enjoy problem solving and often believe I can improve on existing designs and models. Without locking myself in, I believe UX (User Experience) Designing might become my media niche.

Growing in popularity and very much relevant to the digital landscape. UX design involves similar skills to the ones I have been learning throughout my communications and media studies. To grasp a clear understanding of this role, I took the time to investigate and compare Job Ads in this field. In short, the skills most necessary include; researching, designing, innovating, and prototyping.

“Conceptualise ideas that bring simplicity and user friendliness” Hot (Open Street Maps)

“Having exceptional design skills, Creative problem solving, a great sense of aesthetics”Tesla

“Improve existing features and develop new products”Apperal & Fasion

Recognising the difference between UX (experience) and UI (Interface) designers, it is important to focus on term “experience”. Being able to design an experience involves acknowledging the audience: user or customers. As explained by Mike Gualtieri in Best Practices in User experience (UX) Design, it involves answering three questions:

  1. The usefulness, can users achieve their goal?
  2. The usability, how easily can user achieve their goal?
  3. The desirability, does it appeal to users’ emotions?

(Gualtieri 2009, p. 2-3).

Image from the UX Collective

Interestingly enough, gathering research as a UX designer would indeed include some ethnographic methods: collecting data; analysing data; and interpreting data. UX designers will often work for a UX agenecy, where the firm offers their services to companies for a fee. However, UX designers may also decide to work for a company or provide freelance services.

UX Design Innovation: Challenges for Working with Machine Learning as a Design Material explores UX design, and the importance for designers, to not only acknowledge the existence of ML (Machine Learning), but to utilise it as a design tool. In fact, the authors state, UX design teams were perceived as “putting lipstick on the pig” (Dove et al. 2017 p. 279), further explaining how usability, utility and interaction aesthetic – although necessary – may no longer be enough for UX designers. A survey within the article lead to the conclusion, acknowledging successful UX design teams collaborated with internal – and external – teams to develop an idea for a new product or service that utilises machine learning (Dove et all. 2017 p. 285).

Figure from (Gualtieri 2009, p. 13)

As I explore and particpate in this niche, I hope you can all keep up with my ethnographic research and perhaps, learn more about User Experince Design.

Why not read me? comment your thoughts below!


Dove, G Halskov, K Forlizzi, J Zimmerman, J 2017, ‘UX Design Innovation: Challenges for Working with Machine Learning as a Design Material’, CHI ’17: Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 278-288

Gualtieri, M 2009, ‘Best Practices in User experience (UX) Design’, Design Compelling User Experiences to Wow your Customers, pp.1-17.

3 thoughts on “UX Design as a niche?

  1. Very informative post. Thank you for this. I am currently studying UX
    design because I plan to change my career from a scientist to a techy-design related field. Even though I am having a hard time using some tools, I enjoy what I am learning day by day.


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