UX Design 101 | Kevin Gao | Skillshare
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    • 1. What is UX Design? UX Design 101

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About This Class

In this video, I'll be talking about what UX Design is, what it isn't, common misconceptions about UX Design, and the process I take when I am working on UX Design projects.

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Kevin Gao

UX Designer


My name is Kevin Gao and I recently graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a Bachelors in Design '18. I currently work at RS21 (rs21.io) in Albuquerque, NM as a UX Designer and spend my free time creating educational videos about design, and curating food content for my foodstagram (@hungryinalbuquerque).

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1. What is UX Design? UX Design 101: Hey, guys, this is Kevin, and I'm a UX designer in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Today we'll be talking about user experience. Design what it is, what it is in, and the steps I take to complete my user experience design projects. We're going to go through research methods, different examples of wire frames, how to concept new ideas and what to do when you're finished with your project. Thanks for watching. So let's start off with what UX design isn't. A lot of people ask me, What do you do for a living? Oh, design, graphic design. Making things look pretty? Is it just Photoshopped? You mess around with colors and typography and fonts and stuff like that? No. So UX design isn't about graphic design? Um, and right here, it's not just about usability or wire frames. You exercise more about the process of understanding your users to create a better experience for whatever goal you're trying to accomplish. And this takes part in identifying key pain points, understanding your audience, their goals or wants and needs doing a bunch of primary and secondary research which includes interviewing, stepping into the environment, that air that your key stakeholders live in seeing what it's like to be in their shoes, doing just random Google searches or just researching more about the area that you are focusing on S O. For example, if you're doing some sort of app for people who want to rent cars, you might want to go to the dealership and just observe how people look at different cars or models or even do research on your friends and ask them questions about what they look for when they're renting a car or buying a new car and stuff like that. It's all about putting your mindset and putting your physical and mental body into the environment that your users living So right here on the screen, we see two examples of what UX design is now. I pulled to sort of different images just to give you a sense of what you would tangibly be doing in the user experience design process. On the left, we have sort of a steep analysis map where you look at social, technological, environmental, economical and political aspects of what you're working around and trying to see if you can draw any connections from them. So in this case, I did a bunch of post it notes on Albuquerque and air quality and thinking about what that environment looks like, what my goal is and what are the main key insights Aiken gain from that subject matter. And on the right side, we have examples of user journey maps. So this is for the same thing, sort of like air quality in Albuquerque. Uh, I looked at two different key stakeholders and mapped out where the pain points lie where they just are going around their journey. Basically the user journey map and you explode. And all that stuff is examples of what you would be doing in you exercise. Now, here we have an image. This might be the result of you exercising, but this isn't what you should be thinking. You exercise is these air final high fidelity screens of the app that I've created. And although it looks like oh, you exercise APs or products or final deliverables or wire frames, it's really not. This would be more some sort of you I design when you're focusing on color typography layout, sort of what the apple looks like, what it feels like, how it's executed at the end, but I want to emphasize that UX design is more about the research, the process of understanding your users. More of what? Um, the steep analysis and the user journey map showed. So now moving on to the second step, which is understand. So this is the problem space. Who is my audience? What are their wants, needs and goals? What do you really trying to solve? Then? What are the boundaries and restraints? If you're creating an app where your audience is maybe older or has poor vision, you might want to be sort of designing, um, with bigger fonts or designing with very obvious colors and very obvious obvious texts in mind. And this is how you can understand your audience better. This is how you can do you exercise in the right way, which is actually designing solutions not based on gut feeling or based on random sort of subjective insights, but rather who your audience really is and where their pain points. I in this case, if you have an older audience or a disabled audience, your pain point lies in the fact that they just can't see the text or they just really need some visual cue to help them read the AP. And in this case, you would be using bigger tax obvious fonts and prioritizing those type of things over cool . You I or something that's just in trend right now. Here's another part of, um, understanding your problem space, and this is competitive analysis. Competitive analysis is basically looking at similar products. APS experiences, services, the thing that you're trying to create and just observe what is boarding out there in the world in seeing where the pros and cons are. In this case, if I'm making an air quality up that utilizes maps like Google maps or ways, I want to look at Google maps in ways and I just want to see where they succeeded and where they fail in. Um, is it easy to understand? Is the usability good? What about the flow of the user through these APS? I want to take inspiration from my competitive analysis to make my app the best it can be. So step three research In this case, we're gonna be talking about interviews. So when you're interacting with your audience, you ask the right questions. Looking at the pain points, taking away insights tangibly you want to be creating personas and user journey maps. You X flows all that type of stuff as deliverables for this process. So here we have the user journey map again as well as a small example of personas. So in this case, where I've done is drawn an image from Google. That sort of represents the persona that I'm trying to portray. And you don't always need to have a picture. It can be like, ah, users icon or something like that. But the main idea here is you're creating a story around, um, what you believe is the primary user. And in this case, I'm looking at middle age um, female Maria, middle aged man Mark, And seeing how these two different users are both what I'm focusing on, even if they vary. And once you look at sort of who you're trying to target in creating a journey met for them , um, you have a better understanding of who your users are, what they go through in life. And what are the obvious pain points that you can solve with the AB product service that you're trying to create? In this example, we see Maria goes toe work, but she has pollution around her house. She walks over X and sensitive drives, Um, and just has a lot of exposure to bad air. So with that example of making a air quality up, I've got an audience. Maria, who is always exposed to this versus Mark, who is a businessman with the car on, doesn't get exposed to the bad air quality as much. So it's these things that keep in mind when you're creating personas or user journey maps or you X flows again. This is another user journey map in a different format. This is for Marcus, a recent college grad in 2025. In this case, I was creating an app for a persona. Marcus, who works at a coffee shop, has like some 95 but his passion lies somewhere else. In this case, I looked at the story that was created, and I created in emotions over time sort of journey to sort of see where the pain points light. Where the pain points lie emotionally when he's happy, is when he's most sad, because we're trying to look at his quality of life and how this app can sort of help him utilize the resource is of his passion and sort of helped him move from like a coffee shop job that he doesn't enjoy as much to some things weren't passionate about. So in this case, we look at Touchpoints users thoughts. Now, In this case, this was all like a sumption, sort of trying to see what the user might have thought without doing actual interviewing. But an example of this user journey map is good for you guys. To understand how there are different ways you can approach researching, synthesizing and taking the answers you get from interviews or research informing into a map that helps you visualize what the users journey is like. Here's an example of you X flow or something called a site map. This is where you look at the basics of the app in the components within it, or a service or product, and seeing how you go from the first stage to the last stage, or saying all the components within the product listed out in sort of like a flow chart. In this case, you see like 1 to 2 B 34 sort of the different options that the user can go to, like, left or right. And if you go left, you have another choice left to right, kind of like a family tree. And in this case, this helps you map out what the path is like for a user moving forward. And you can prototype this with different users or friends and then see if it makes sense. Because in this stage, you kind of want to see, um, how your APP is going to flow, how the service gonna work, how the product functions. And if someone gets confused from step one, Step two like, Oh, how did I get here? Then you have good feedback that you can take into the app and sort of, um, redesign it so that your flow of UX makes sense. So concept ing, how do we design with purpose? How do you do something so that you utilize all the interview material that you've done all the insights you've gotten? You look, you've looked at the pain points you've done user journey maps you've done UX flows. Now what? So now is the concept phases where you tackle the pain points you make a bunch of it orations, and you sort of see which one fits best for a user based on logic and based on what pain points were actually tackling. So I I've always been told, Don't get too invested in one idea And this is something you should keep in mind because let's say you come up with a brilliant idea first and you think it's the winner. Well, if you get too invested in it, um, you sort of narrow your mindset, and you don't really see other options that could be more viable or maybe better in the long run. So when you're when you're in the concept phase of thinking of different ideas, Teoh execute your design with you should always start pretty low fidelity and high concept view, which means get some sketches out, get some ideas written on the whiteboard and have multiple things that are really roughed out so that you don't get too invested in a single idea. So here's some sketches that I did when I was creating the, um, air quality up, which is just looking at, uh, what components do I really need in this app? Um, what is the layout kind of look like and different types of components I wanted if I wanted rating system, some sort of a Queue I and next Air quality Index. Um, that allows you to look at the score the whole time, or if there's some warnings or history. There's just a bunch of ideas on this page that I could work with, and I'm not too invested in it because nothing looks super professional or high quality. It's all very sketched out really rough. So you sort of get the concept there. But you don't need it, really, technically, execute yet. And then you move on to the design phase, which is grayscale wire frames, clickable prototypes, um, and doing different mock up so that you can test it with the users, like paper prototyping or stuff like that. Here's just some examples of what your final product could look like without any you I design, and it's just sort of gray scale wire frames that clearly tell you you're moving from one page to the next or you see the exact layout of a certain page. But you're not so deeply invested in it that it's like the final wire frame So now once you've finished your designs and you feel confident in what you produced at the end, there's this implementation and evaluation stage. Now we look at this four circle diagram that's very common around UX design. Discover, explore test. Listen, we have discovered through research and understanding our user base, we've explored different ideas through the concept phase. We've test now it's time to test the design that we've created and listen for feedback. And this is sort of like the feedback loop that you hear all in you axe because this is how you perfect your product or service is that you test what you've created. Listen for the feedbag, apply that feedback test again and keep doing it. So you feel comfortable with what you've created and you think that it tackles a lot of the pain points that your user has, and usually through this cycle of discover Explorer test and listen. You end up having a product that evolves over time and can sort of hold its ground, um, through different users. And we see this time and time again in the APP store. I mean, every time you get an update in the app store for a stop child or instagram or Facebook or whatever. It's the company testing different layouts, testing different algorithms, listening to feedback, going through meetings of saying what's best next. I mean, you've seen it in Instagram's algorithm when they, um changed their algorithm from From most recent discovered to, um, some new algorithm, um, that makes the AB show you different things based on your interests or or likes or something like that. And it's not only based on time based posts, and maybe that's something they tested, and they might listen for feedback and change it again. You never know. So it's a good thing toe have sort of a final product. Be open to change so that you're always adapting with time and allowing the user to get, um, sort of more feedback into your It just always makes it better, and it makes it more transparent. And lastly, I want to leave you guys with sort of ah, a good habit to keep in mind when doing you exercise or even you I design or just design in general. And that's documenting your process. Whether your APP fails or succeeds, whether you learned a lot or you feel like you didn't learn a lot. You will always have something at the end if you document your process. This means making a medium blogged post from the start to the finish of your inner thoughts or different ideas that didn't work and ideas that did work. Taking pictures of white boarding sessions or posted sessions and quoting different feedback notes that you got from users screenshot in Google surveys that you gave 200 people and just putting it all in a folder, putting it all into a block or something. That sort of logs the progress over time because I can't tell you guys how much I failed in the past because of poor wire framing or poor concepts or something just didn't go through or the project got cut off early. But you still gain value from doing that. When you document your process, you learn from the way that you work. You learn that maybe you X flows weren't as good this time, but you're usually journey. Map was amazing. Or maybe all the research you've done was so good, and that led up to you realizing that this concept might not be worth tackling and going through that journey and documenting that is so much value for yourself and your users because you're discovering a lot about whatever you're trying to accomplish. Your discovering a lot about yourself, your process, how you design, how your design works from networks, and at the end that can be a design challenge at the end. That can be a design, um, project that you get out of whatever you're working on. Um, and if anyone's looking for, like, top tech jobs or top you exercising jobs, I can guarantee you there's one thing in common between all of them and and that's valuing the process, vowing how you think through things and how you make decisions based on rational and research. Um, in seeing that process might be more valuable than the end results sometimes. So I just want to leave you guys with that last tidbit of document your process. I think it helps me helps a lot of my peers and, um, I think it will help you guys to for those that are learning UX design for the first time. If you guys have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me. Ah, GM or anything. I respond to every comment that I get and I'm more than happy to help. Ah, or just talk about UX design or design in general. Thanks for watching.