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8 UX Design Frameworks Every UX Designer Should Know

UX design frameworks provide structured approaches to creating user-centric digital experiences. By combining research, best practices, and design thinking, UX frameworks help designers systematically analyze problems, ideate solutions, and test concepts. For UX designers, having a strong grasp of frameworks is essential to crafting engaging user journeys. In this guide, we‘ll explore eight must-know frameworks and how to apply them.

What Are UX Design Frameworks?

UX design frameworks act as scaffolds that organize the design process into clear, actionable steps. They synthesize large bodies of UX research and case studies into flexible, adaptable blueprints. While not prescriptive, frameworks provide “guardrails” to guide designers through key activities like:

  • Understanding user needs and pain points through research
  • Defining design challenges and opportunities
  • Generating potential solutions and concepts
  • Prototyping and testing with users
  • Iterating based on feedback

Well-executed frameworks create alignment within design teams and stakeholders while accelerating development. They also incorporate best practices and learnings so designers don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Why Are UX Design Frameworks Important?

UX frameworks provide many benefits:

  • Prevent scope creep and ambiguity: Frameworks define concrete phases and deliverables to maintain focus.
  • Encourage collaboration: Cross-functional teams can rally around a shared methodology.
  • Improve efficiency: Frameworks help designers avoid wasted effort by redirecting energy into high-impact activities.
  • Drive innovation: Structured brainstorming and rapid testing unearth creative solutions.
  • Reduce risk: Testing with real users surfaces issues early when they are cheaper to fix.
  • Establish credibility: Frameworks demonstrate that designers follow proven, data-driven processes.

While no framework can guarantee success, they maximize the odds by baking in user-centricity from start to finish.

8 UX Design Frameworks to Know

Here are eight frameworks that represent a wide range of philosophies and approaches:

1. Agile UX

Agile UX meshes agile software development with UX design thinking. It emphasizes building a minimally viable product (MVP) quickly through rapid iteration.

Core Principles:

  • Cross-functional collaboration
  • Continuous testing and improvement
  • Focus on MVP feature set
  • Tight feedback loops
  • Iterative sprints

Sprints last 1-4 weeks and involve:

  • Planning meetings to prioritize features
  • Designing new features
  • Developing/updating product increments
  • Reviewing and testing with users
  • Retrospective to improve process


  • Brings UX into agile environment
  • Accelerates release of working software
  • Incorporates constant user feedback
  • Promotes transparency and shared ownership


  • Scope might creep without diligence
  • Pressure to compromise UX for speed
  • Less emphasis on foundational user research

Agile UX is ideal for established products being actively developed. It facilitates relentlessly improving based on user data.

2. Hooked Model

The Hooked Model focuses on creating habits and driving recurring engagement. It identifies the experiences that “hook” users as they progress through a product or service.

Core Principles:

  • Drive ongoing engagement through positive reinforcements
  • Identify touchpoints that create habits
  • Combine psychology, neuroscience and design thinking

The four phases of the Hooked Model are:

  • Trigger: An external or internal trigger sparks action
  • Action: User takes an action to get reward, escape discomfort, etc.
  • Reward: User receives anticipated reward that satisfies need
  • Investment: User invests time, data, effort that improves the product


  • Laser focus on habit-forming behaviors
  • Illuminates the drivers behind engagement
  • Helps build loyalty through tailored rewards


  • Could promote addictive or unethical design
  • Difficult to sustain novelty and rewards forever
  • Less emphasis on core functionality

Use Hooked Model when driving adoption and retention is critical, such as with apps or games. Balance with other frameworks to avoid manipulative experiences.

3. UX Honeycomb

The UX Honeycomb distills UX design into seven facets that form a complete user experience:

Core Principles:

  • UX has many dimensions that work together
  • All seven honeycomb aspects are interconnected
  • Improvements in one area enhance the overall experience


  • Usable: How easy and intuitive it is to use
  • Findable: How easily users can find what they need
  • Desirable: How appealing and aesthetically pleasing it is
  • Accessible: How inclusive and accessible it is for diverse users
  • Valuable: How useful and beneficial it is
  • Credible: How trustworthy, secure and consistent it feels
  • Delightful: How pleasing, fun and exciting it is


  • Holistic perspective on the many UX facets
  • Identifies weak spots and areas for improvement
  • Simple model is easy to communicate


  • Can be difficult to prioritize among competing facets
  • More high-level than actionable
  • Light on process specifics

The well-rounded UX Honeycomb works well for both new products and redesigned experiences. It provides balanced guidance.

4. Design Thinking

Design thinking applies designer workflows to business challenges. It marries empathy, creativity, and logic to generate human-centric solutions.

Core Principles:

  • Deep understanding of audience perspectives
  • Divergent thinking to expand possibilities
  • Convergent thinking to prioritize ideas
  • Comfort with ambiguity and failure

Design thinking has five flexible phases:

  • Empathize: Immerse in the audience’s needs and context
  • Define: Frame opportunities and design criteria
  • Ideate: Brainstorm creative approaches
  • Prototype: Build early experiential concepts
  • Test: Solicit feedback to refine prototypes


  • Produces unexpected, inventive solutions
  • Fosters collaboration between diverse teams
  • Encourages calculated risk-taking
  • Yields actionable business insights


  • Significant time investment
  • Less predictable outcomes
  • Success depends on team aptitude

Design thinking excels at tackling complex strategic challenges with human-centered solutions. It promotes outside-the-box experimentation.

5. Fogg Behavior Model

Developed by Stanford researcher BJ Fogg, this model examines the intersection of motivation, ability, and triggers. It looks at what prompts user behaviors.

Core Principles:

  • Behavior is driven by motivation, ability, and triggers
  • Ability level determines what motivators and triggers will work
  • Smaller tasks require smaller motivations


  • Define target behavior
  • Assess user motivators and ability levels
  • Determine appropriate triggers
  • Test combinations of factors


  • Granular insights into behavior activation
  • Allows tailoring triggers and motivators
  • Highlights opportune moments for engagement


  • Complex model with many variables
  • Quantitative data is required
  • Behaviors may be outside the product’s control

The Fogg Behavior Model helps craft experiences that persuade people to take actions in the moment. It is extremely detailed in modeling behaviors.

6. Double Diamond

The Double Diamond depicts the design process as an iterative divergence and convergence of insights. It comes from British Design Council.

Core Principles:

  • Divergent thinking opens possibilities
  • Convergent thinking focuses possibilities
  • Insights build on prior learning
  • Structured flexibility creates strong solutions

The two diamonds have four phases:

  • Discover: Gather information and empathize
  • Define: Synthesize findings into focus areas
  • Develop: Ideate and prototype possible solutions
  • Deliver: Refine concepts and finalize designs


  • Captures expansive and reductive thinking modes
  • Makes design process transparent
  • Fosters evidence-based decision making
  • Promotes structured flexibility


  • Highly simplified model
  • Light on practical techniques
  • Directionless divergence can be overwhelming

Double Diamond excels as a high-level depiction of the design journey. It effectively communicates the iterative process to stakeholders.

7. BASIC Framework

BASIC is an acronym for the facets that shape user experience: Behavior, Appearance, Structure, Interaction, Credibility.

Core Principles:

  • Multiple dimensions impact UX
  • Focus on understanding user interpretations
  • Design choices send messages to users


  • Behavior: What users can accomplish
  • Appearance: How it looks and feels
  • Structure: Logical flow and architecture
  • Interaction: Controls and feedback mechanisms
  • Credibility: Trustworthiness and authority


  • Broadens perspective beyond pure usability
  • Connects specifics of design to perceptions
  • Can quantify subjective qualities


  • Potentially overlapping facets
  • Requires additional models for execution
  • More analytical than creative

BASIC Framework helps assess experiences from the user‘s point of view. It illuminates how design conveys functionality and trustworthiness.

8. Lean UX

Lean UX is inspired by lean manufacturing. It aims to reduce waste and deliver continuous value quickly through iterative design.

Core Principles:

  • Rapid iteration with minimal viable experiences
  • Tight collaboration between teams
  • Evidence-based decision making
  • Focus on engaging users over deliverables


  • Identify business questions and hypotheses
  • Create MVPs to test hypotheses
  • Gather feedback through ongoing user research
  • Continuously improve product iteratively


  • Moves at the speed of agile development
  • Prevents overinvesting when uncertain
  • Embraces experimentation and learning
  • Drives build-measure-learn cycle


  • MVP quality may suffer without diligence
  • Some users dislike constant change
  • Needs organizational buy-in across teams

Lean UX promotes validated learning through real-world UX experiments. It thrives with a mature agile culture focused on outcomes over outputs.


UX design frameworks provide tested, structured approaches for creating engaging user experiences. They combine research, best practices, and design thinking into adaptable and repeatable blueprints. Mastering frameworks allows UX designers to work more efficiently, collaborate across teams, and build credibility.

Frameworks are not one-size-fits-all, so designers should thoughtfully select approaches suited to their product‘s maturity level, team culture, and project timeline. While supplemental skills are required for execution, frameworks give designers an invaluable head start in crafting compelling user journeys. By beginning UX initiatives with a framework, designers ensure they build on the collective wisdom of their field.



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.