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User Experience at Princeton University: User research, interaction design, information architecture, visual design, usability testing, and accessibility


The User Experience Office provides thought leadership, consultation, training and resources to support all aspects of user experience design. Our services, methods and materials are available to everyone within the University who is interested in applying the principles and practices of user experience design and web accessibility to their projects. 

Design Thinking and UX

Design thinking is a term that has gained in popularity in recent years. It describes a user-centric approach to problem-solving, and helps set a broader context for user experience within concepts of organizational strategy, project management, and the design of processes, products and services. For all practical purposes, the terms design thinking and UX are interchangeable.

In the User Experience Office, we define design thinking as a process that applies critical and creative thinking across multiple perspectives to develop solutions that are highly useful, usable and desirable. It is a design approach that prioritizes the impact a solution has on the people who will use it, and in so doing increases ease, efficiency and effectiveness. In the UXO, we call it Envision and it includes three steps:

  1. Study your Users. Understand the problem in a deep and multi-faceted way. Study your users to gain insight into their pain points, desires, needs, environment and capabilities.
  2. Design and Prototype. Brainstorm potential designs and create prototypes.
  3. Test and Refine. Test your prototypes to identify problems and gaps. Use what you learn to iteratively improve the design.

Using the sum of what you learn in the previous steps ensures that you can implement with confidence, since the solution has already been tested by the people who will be most affected by it. It removes guesswork and greatly reduces project and organizational risk. To learn more, please get in touch, attend a training session, or read our blog, Designing Experience.

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