A brief history of UX design and its evolution

When you think about user experience design it’s a term we instantly associate with apps and websites. And especially when considering a typical job description of a UX designer, it can trick you into thinking that it’s a modern concept.

The term was first coined in 1993 by the cognitive psychologist and designer Don Norman when he worked at Apple Computer — but the UX field is older than the term.

So, I’m challenging you to explore with me the history of UX since it’s crucial to understanding this field. If you’re new to UX, this serves as a great introduction to the field and if you’re an experienced professional, it might just get you thinking differently.

While you may view history as something you learned way back in high school, knowing our history can provide valuable insights into the future. So let’s have a look at user experience and its origins.

The most basic principles of UX can be traced as far back as 4000 BC to the ancient Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui. It refers to the spatial arrangement of objects in relation to the flow of energy. In practice, Feng Shui is all about arranging your surroundings in the most optimal, harmonious or user-friendly way and it concerns everything from layout and framework to materials and colors.