Ah UX, that misunderstood, misrepresented, and down right mystical practice that has some still scratching their heads.
In the digital world - where I tend to do most of my work - user experience (UX) design is a combination of research, prototyping, and design. It's part Information Architecture, part user interface design, part independent work and part collaboration, and a lot of ideation and iteration that all starts with the grandaddy of UX methodologies, RESEARCH.
When we're out in the trenches, us UXers are most at home. We're digging around in other peoples things, in their minds, and in their habits. We can be thought of as business anthropologists because we're trying to discover and identify specific user societies within a company, and determine to the best of our abilities, just what it is they do when they do their work.
We work closely with stakeholders and business owners, users, SMEs, data people, developers, and designers. We cross the bridge between design and development, ensuring that each side understands the others needs and language.
Our primary function and goal is to support a business's growth, and we accomplish this when we bring together all the moving parts of a website or enterprise application project. Our focus is the user, whether they're internal knowledge workers, or external customers.
We scope the project, we manage the progress in collaborative research and design sprints, we document it all - loosely as is taught in Lean UX - and we do all of this to the beat of the project expectations as set and written by us and the stakeholders.
And when we do all of this, we create an atmosphere where our users can accomplish their goals. If you're a student of Alan Cooper's work, you know this as Goal Directed design and I highly recommend his seminal work on interaction design, About Face.
To your success,