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The inception of UX design & its evolution

The inception of UX design and its evolution

The concept of design is ancient and so is the concept of user experience design. You might think how is UX design ancient if there were no mobiles or computers to use at that time nor was there any UX designer designing apps or websites.


Well, it’s definitely not a modern concept as the philosophy of user experience can be traced as far back as 4000 BC. However, the term “UX Design” was first coined in 1993 by Don Norman when he worked at Apple Computer. Let’s take a quick run through the entire timeline so that you can understand the journey and how the philosophy of user experience played an important role in various eras and different use cases.


4000 BC: Feng Shui


It all starts thousands of years back when the ancient Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui came into being. The philosophy stressed the importance of spatial arrangement with respect to the flow of energy (also known as chi). It highlighted the importance of space and surroundings that are well-arranged to create a favorable, pleasant, and harmonious flow that makes it more acceptable and livable. This included the use of right spacing, selection of materials, and color combinations. Do you see the connection yet when it comes to UX design? UX design follows the same principles when creating an intuitive and user-friendly experience for websites and mobile applications.


500 BC: Ancient Greeks and ergonomics


The next ancient reference would be that of the Ancient Greeks where the  Greek civilizations lived by ergonomic principles. How do leveraging ergonomic principles help in UX design? Well, the answer is right there. Ergonomics defines the discipline that understands human interaction with their environment and the rest of the other elements around them. This means the need to use data, principles, theories, and designs that will increase the well-being and performance of human beings. Something that a UX designer would aim to do.


The early 1900s: Frederick Winslow Taylor’s pursuit of workplace efficiency


Frederick Winslow Taylor was a mechanical engineer and the creator of the Taylor System that uses the practice of scientific management and work efficiency– also known as Taylorism. Published in the year 1911, in his book “The Principles of Scientific Management”, Taylor highlighted the use of systematic management to counter inefficiency. He mentioned how enhancing the relationship between human being and their tools or machinery can create better efficiency. A goal, good UX design wants to achieve.


The 1940s: Toyota and human input


Moving ahead in the timeline, we meet Toyota with their aim to optimize workplace efficiency using the “human-centered production system” principle. This means they wanted to create a working environment that is optimal for their workers and encourage human inputs in the form of feedback or suggestions for product improvement. When it comes to UX design, you can refer to usability testing where you put the user first by hearing out their inputs and accordingly designing the product.



1955: Henry Dreyfuss


Henry Dreyfuss was an American industrial engineer who was famous for designing and improving the user experience and serviceability of some of the most prominent consumer products back in the day. In his book “Designing for People” Dreyfuss speaks about the importance of creating a design or function that makes people safe, comfortable, happy, efficient, and eager to buy when they come in contact with the product. This leads to a successful design. Believe you have already connected the dots!


1966: Walt Disney


Do you think Walt Disney could be the first UX designer? Well, he was the man who created magical and truly immersive user experiences. His philosophy was always to know his audience well and get into their shoes to understand their needs better while he addresses it through the use of colors, shapes, forms, textures, etc.


The 1970s: The Technology Era


User experience has new channels by the 1970s where the era witnessed the adoption of personal computers. Many psychologists and engineers work jointly to improve the user experience and one of them was Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) that introduced the graphical user interface and the mouse. Later, in 1984 Apple’s original Macintosh became the first mass-market PC to feature a graphical user interface, built-in screen, and a mouse; becoming the true innovator of UX. It is said that they might have contributed to coining the term ‘UX design’.


1995: Donald Norman


While ‘user experience’ was already a focus point for many around the 90s, it still missed a specific term or recognition. A cognitive scientist named Donald Norman joined the Apple company and wanted a term that could define ‘user experience’. That is when he came up with “UX Design” and became the first person to acquire UX in his designation.


Today, UX design has become a buzzword in the digital industry and it has been exponentially growing within all industries. This has opened multiple doors for UX designer job opportunities and has significantly increased the demand.


Would you like to join this thriving industry of UX design? Felix-ITs can help you take your skills to the next level or train you from scratch in order to get you industry-ready with the right skillset. Get in touch to know more about our practically designed courses and certification.





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