UX Beyond Websites and Apps?


Greetings all! I am transitioning into a new career in the UX field and am starting a UX bootcamp. I have known about UX for almost a year now, and I love the field and think it will be a great fit for me. However…I must admit I am really not interested in UX for websites or apps. I am much more interested in physical UX - Internet of Things, fashion/tech wear, even UX for hospitals/airports, etc. Does anyone have any advice for someone getting into the UX field who wants to work in a non-traditional UX sector?
Thanks everyone in advance.


Hi @paula_dambrosa forgive me if this sounds completely wrong, but it sounds like what you might be looking for is interior design - ie the way a shop is laid - the way a customer navigates their way through the shop? Have you thought about going into that and applying UX?


Hmmm. I’m thinking more “product design” for physical products. Don Norman, author of the amazing book The Design of Everyday Things is adamant that “UX” is NOT just about digital products. There’s also a cool documentary on Netflix about design that discusses design thinking related to physical objects. I’m also fascinated by the “user experience” of physical products as well, but don’t want to go get an engineering degree… I’d love to hear more about this as others chime in.


Thank you both for your comments. The Don Norman book was actually a big influence for me and I love interior design. (It is a hobby of mine). I will have to find a way to combine these interests with UX. :smile:


This looks like it might be useful @paula_dambrosa


Hi @paula_dambrosa, n00b here :), so I may misunderstand what you have in mind. Perhaps, you are thinking of product and industrial design in terms of IoT, wearables etc.? Service design and visual merchandising might be of interest too.

I have a Safari membership, which I find quite useful. I am currently reading Smart Retail by Richard Hammond. He briefly touches on A/B Testing in a physical retail environment. I am still reading the book so maybe there are other things that sort of relate to what you are interested in.

Other design books in my Safari queue are:

  • Service Design for Business by Ben Reason et al.
  • This Is Service Design Doing by Marc Stickdom et al (raw & unedited version so most chapters are missing)
  • X: The Experience When Business Meets Design by Brian Solis
  • The Art of Product Design: Changing How Things Get Made by Hardi Meybaum
  • Designing Connected Things by Alfred Lui et al. (IoT related)
  • Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want by Alexander Osterwalder et al.

I don’t know where you’re located but if you’re in Australia but this might help:

If you’re in Australia, The Big Life Fix with Simon Reeves is on SBS tonight at 8:30pm. If you’re in the UK, you are probably able to watch this via the original broadcaster’s website. This week’s episode:

Seven of the UK’s leading engineers, designers and computer programmers put their skills together to try and help four people with very different needs. Mum of two Shamreen has very limited vision, and needs something that will help her and her two young sons get around. Seven-year-old Rosie had brain surgery as a baby and now wears a cumbersome medical helmet, hopes the team can make her a less visible helmet that will help her fit in with her friends, and the team are challenged with coming up with a solution to help two teenage brothers with cystic fibrosis.

You might also want to check out Fjord (www.fjordnet.com) and LUNAR (www.lunar.com).

@HAWK, thanks for the link. I’m in the process of reading it.


Hi -

I work in UX for voice devices. The user-centered design process can be applied anywhere. You see this when you walk into Starbucks or certain restaurants.

I design speech applications using user-centered design process for IVR, SMS bots, devices such as Alexa, Google Home, etc.

Keep in mind that UX is much different for voice than GUI things websites. To design a good experience for the user, understanding linguistics to help create conversational design helps. We do follow a similar approach though.

I often write about it here: http://ageorge.co

  • Arun


I think your question starts from the misconception that UX is for websites and apps only. It is not :). There are many different definitions of UX, but the one from the NN Group is more than decent:

Also, what is a traditional UX sector? Again, this comes from the misconception that UX is all about websites and apps. UX reaches much further than that. So IoT, fashion/tech wear, airports (you’d be surprised how big the UX industry is there), hospitals, etc… UX and service design thinking can be applied everywhere.

I think what you should be looking at is Service Design :slight_smile: