Understanding the UX Pyramid & How it Impacts Design

The concept of a UX pyramid is a powerful tool for improving user experience (UX) design. It helps designers understand the relationship between elements of a product, prioritize features, and ultimately create better experiences for users. And by understanding the structure of the UX pyramid, designers can ensure their products are designed with usability in mind from start to finish.

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In this article, we’ll explore what exactly makes up the UX pyramid and how it impacts design decisions. We’ll also look at how prioritizing different levels of the pyramid can help designers develop more effective products that meet user needs.

Finally, we’ll provide some tips on how to use this framework when designing your own product or service. With these insights in hand, you’ll be ready to take your designs to new heights!

So, let’s dive in and explore the UX pyramid!

What is the UX Pyramid?

highland pyramid

The UX Pyramid is made up of five levels, built from the bottom up. So as a quick thought experiment, if you were to think of the most important factor of user experience, what would it be?

The answer is Functionality. This is the bottom level of the pyramid and everything else is built on top of this element.

The next four levels in ascending order are Usability and Form, Desirability, Attractiveness, and Branding/Strategy. All five of these levels should be taken into consideration when designing a product or service in order to create an optimal user experience.

Let’s take a closer look at each one now.


Functionality is all about how users interact with your product or service and whether it meets their expectations. This includes elements such as the speed of loading, navigation, data input, and output, as well as any other features that enable users to achieve a task effectively. 

It also relates to the overall usability of a product, which is why it’s the foundation of the UX pyramid. To be successful, a product needs to be functional first and foremost. After all, no one will care what it looks like if it doesn’t work.

Usability and Form

The Usability and Form level of the UX pyramid focuses on making sure your product or service is easy to use. This means designing a system with intuitive interactions, simple navigation, and effective feedback so that users can interact with it quickly and effortlessly.

It’s also important to consider how elements are presented and how they look. This includes things like the size and position of buttons, fonts, colors, and other design elements. Consider things like how notable the buttons are, how clear your call-to-action is, and so on.


Desirability is all about making your product or service desirable to users. This includes considering the emotional needs of users and creating an experience that appeals to them on a personal level. You want to make sure that your product looks and feels like something people actually want to use—not something they have to use.

This also accounts for the perceived value of a product or service. If users feel like they’re getting something special, then they’ll be more likely to use it and recommend it to others.


The Attractiveness level of the UX pyramid is all about making sure your product looks and feels appealing. This includes elements such as color, font choice, imagery, and overall visual design but not related to function this time, rather, these choices pertain to aesthetics.

It’s important to consider how users will respond to the visuals you create and how they might affect their overall experience. If your product looks inviting and visually pleasing, then users will be more likely to stick around.

Branding and Strategy

The Branding and Strategy level of the UX pyramid considers how your product or service stands out from the competition and how it’s positioned in the market. This includes elements such as defined branding that tell users why they should choose your product over others. 

It also looks at how your product or service fits into a larger marketing strategy, such as how it can be used to reach new audiences or how it can be used to support existing marketing efforts.

Now that you understand the structure of the UX pyramid, let’s talk about how to prioritize these elements when designing a website or app.

Implementing the Key Elements of the UX Pyramid

a user pointing a a user interface design on an iphone

When it comes to making real use of the UX pyramid, it’s important to first start with functionality, as you might’ve already guessed. If your product or service doesn’t meet user expectations in terms of speed, navigation, data input, and output, etc., it won’t matter how attractive or desirable it is—the user experience will suffer.

You should also consider accessibility and how you will optimize the user experience to accommodate these factors. This includes things like making sure the page loads quickly, designing for varying screen sizes and devices, and using clear language. It also means thinking of screen reader users, epilepsy considerations, and providing alternate font and background colors for those who are color blind.

Once you have the core functionality sorted out, you can begin to focus on usability and form, desirability, and attractiveness. These three levels should be considered in tandem to ensure that users can easily and effectively interact with your product or service while also feeling an emotional connection to it. A few things to think about to fill in the middle sections of the pyramid on a practical level include:

  • Consider how easy it is for users to perform certain tasks, such as setting up a profile or completing an order.
  • Make sure that buttons, fonts, colors, and other design elements are easy to understand
  • Ensure that the visuals you create to appeal to users on an emotional level
  • Calls to action should be clear and compelling and there should be a clear “flow” driving them to this conversion point.

Finally, you can focus on branding and strategy to make sure your product stands out from the competition and is positioned in a way that appeals to users.

Use the UX Pyramid to Your Advantage

By taking the time to consider all five levels of the UX pyramid, you can create a website, app, or service that provides an optimal user experience and meets user needs. Doing so will make your product or service more attractive to users, build stronger relationships with them, and increase customer satisfaction.

So it’s definitely worth a shot to have the UX pyramid on hand for reference throughout the UX design process.