A UX Design Degree Will Help You Meet Needs During a Crisis and Beyond

by Tobin Perry

The digital revolution has been unfolding for decades. In March 2020, it fully arrived on the back of the pandemic. With the vast majority of people worldwide suddenly needing to work, shop, and study from home, it became a call for better designed digital experiences.

A UX design degree prepares people to meet this need by teaching them to create software and web-based products with intuitive, meaningful user experiences. You’ve likely seen just how important this is in recent months, as people in a number of fields rely on online platforms.

One way you can help create a better future through optimal digital experiences is by training to be a UX designer and earning a Master of Arts in User Experience Design. Here are three ways you can make a difference with this degree.

1. Your Work as a UX Designer Can Improve and Save Lives

If that sounds hyperbolic, think again. In the healthcare arena, it’s critical that doctors and nurses be able to see and correctly interpret what their technological tools are telling them. They must often make quick decisions to save lives. Confusion runs counter to that objective.

The importance of UX design was recently highlighted when, as described in Belatrix, a doctor accidentally prescribed a baby the wrong dose of medicine because of a design flaw. As the doctor entered information into a software solution their hospital used, they erroneously entered the baby’s weight in kilograms instead of pounds. This led a nurse to give the baby double the correct dose for several days.

Because the software did not automatically integrate key user preferences, such as the standard of measurement, the manual inputting of data failed. In any setting, and especially a busy hospital, design that considers the environment and users should address such critical details. That’s why user experience research often incorporates careful observation and understanding to inform detailed design ideas and decisions.

And that’s just one of many stories of people who have experienced health complications because of issues that may have been prevented through well-designed solutions.

2. You Can Help People Communicate from Afar

Over the past few months, people have been separated from their families, coworkers, doctors, teachers, and just about everyone else. Everyone has had to rely on digital communications channels like never before.

Jess Paik, M.Ed., an assistant professor and program director of Azusa Pacific University’s user experience design program, says UX design helps make these communications more effective.

“Right now, we are all relying on video and visual means to communicate, perhaps so that the feeling of being in an in-person meeting is somewhat intact,” Paik said. “As UX designers, we might ask if video communications are hindering our efficiency in work with all the surrounding issues. Also, what innovative ways of communicating can we envision? During this period of increasing online interactions and digital experience, it’s a great time for UX designers to ask these types of questions.”

3. You Can Help People Work More Efficiently

Working from home has been a big change for many people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Well-designed software that workers can access from anywhere makes this process much easier.

Paik noted that she has been using a suite of different software—with varying levels of success. “The video chats have been problematic for a variety of reasons—to name a few: poor connection, freezing, and hacking issues,” she explained. “A UX designer considers how to address and solve these issues.”

Whether it’s the ability to easily use cloud storage, access email, share files, or complete a variety of other tasks, well-designed platforms save companies millions of dollars in increased productivity. Your work as a UX designer can help drive efficiency as the world navigates this “new normal.”

Pursuing Your UX Design Degree at APU

The best way to rise to challenges related to technology and communications is to complete a degree program focused on UX design, such as the one offered at Azusa Pacific University. You can pursue a number of different careers upon graduation and the program’s unique low-residency format makes it easy to balance your life’s current obligations as you study primarily online.

Paik says the program will help students become sensitive and engaged researchers who can build products and services to “influence the emotions, thoughts, and actions of users.” She also added that it will give students confidence in expressing their ideas and honing them into “real products through research and practicing prototyping and iteration.”

Interested in learning more about the M.A. in User Experience Design program at Azusa Pacific University? Explore the school’s website to discover more insights and contact a program representative.