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User Experience Designers

History

User experience design traces its origin to the field of ergonomics, which aims to increase human productivity, comfort, safety, and health through the design of human-centered equipment, furniture, techniques, and work methods.

Some also trace the beginnings of the UX design movement to the publication of Designing for People in 1955 by the industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss. In it, he wrote “When the point of contact between the product and the people becomes a point of friction, then the industrial designer has failed. On the other hand, if people are made safer, more comfortable, more eager to purchase, more efficient—or just plain happier—by contact with the product, then the designer has succeeded.”

As computers and other technology grew in popularity starting in the 1970s, major companies began incorporating human-focused design principles into their products. In 1970, Xerox created PARC, a research and development lab that developed enduring tools of human-computer interaction such as the mouse, the graphical user interface, and computer-generated bitmap graphics. Both Apple and Microsoft incorporated the work of PARC into their products.

In 1995, Donald Norman—an engineer, cognitive scientist, and the author of The Design of Everyday Things (1988)—began working at Apple to improve the usability and appearance of its products. He asked to be called a user experience architect, which many consider the first use of the job title.

Apple was already well-known for creating visually appealing and user-friendly products, but its 2007 release of the iPhone established even higher user experience and design standards throughout the tech industry, and in other industries that used technology. In the last decade, demand has grown for UX designers as a result of the continuing popularity of the Internet and the rapid adoption of smartphones and other mobile computing devices. 

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