UXD Focus: Dan Eckles on User Experience Design

As more consumer-facing brands look for ways to keep their current customers while implementing measures to help attract new ones, creating a positive user experience has been at the forefront of any new initiatives. Unfortunately, unless something goes wrong, the importance of the user experience goes unnoticed.

But that trend seems to be shifting as more user experience design (UXD) programs are being added to the curriculum of colleges and universities. In essence, the user experience, whether positive or negative, has a direct correlation with how someone feels when interacting with a product, whether digital or physical.

In most instances, designers focus on factors within their own control, such as usability, performance, design, look, feel and how humans will potentially interact with a particular finished product. Why is all of this important?

A positive customer experience with any product is the best form of PR and marketing available. Most people will usually make a purchasing decision based on the feedback of others. You’ve heard the saying, “bad news travels fast.” The same goes for good news. This underlies the importance of the user experience.

This is especially important when dealing with digital properties. These days, interpersonal consumer transactions have been replaced with impersonal ones. People now have the ability to go online using a computer or mobile device and buy anything they want, making the need to visit a brick-and-mortar establishment virtually unnecessary.

Forward-thinking companies understand that the best way to compete in an ever-expanding digital economy is to have a better user experience than their competitors. This is also why UXD is one of the fastest growing interactive careers in today’s job marketplace “Your success (as a UX designer) is going to be dictated by how users feel and how users interact with your product or system,” said Dan Eckels, an experienced UX designer. “If you aren’t thinking about users, then users aren’t going to be thinking about you.”

The best part about being a UXD designer is that these professionals, in many cases, have all transitioned out of other industries, adding to its uniqueness. Jobs are popping up across the country and experienced UXD professionals are in high demand. As a working professional, it only makes sense to go where the action is.

UXD is not only engaging and exciting; it’s also an industry with possibilities and exponential personal and professional growth opportunities.

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He is an Associate Professor in the Evaluation and Measurement program within the College of Education, Health and Human Services at Kent State University. He is also the program coordinator for the online Master of Education degree in Research, Measurement, and Statistics.
Dr. Astrid N. Sambolín Morales is an Assistant Professor in Kent State Online’s 100% Online Master of Education degree in Cultural Foundations. She received her PhD in Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity from the University of Colorado Boulder and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research provides a more nuanced picture of the agency, resistance, and empowerment enacted by displaced Puerto Rican m(others) in the U.S., and her work was funded by several grants, including the University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center, the BUENO Center for Multicultural Education, the URBAN Research Network, and the NAEd Spencer Foundation.