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User Experience (UX) Explained

What is User Experience?

May 27, 2016

What is User Experience (UX)?

You want to buy a smartphone. You have a budget and expectations for processor, memory, camera, storage, battery life, and screen size. So you started visiting different websites to see what is available, asked your friends to get their suggestions. Finally, you came up with a list that of phones that match your expectations. Next day, you came to a shop to pick one of those. While ordering for the specific models, you see two or three of other models are also available. Now you started to compare all of those against what you have heard and also what the shop’s sales boy is speaking about. You picked one, asked them to unpack, turned it on, and you kept checking different features. “This is the one, let’s do the bills”. Coming back home with your brand new smartphone, you spent another three/four hours on cross-matching what you’ve heard, what you have seen and what you are experiencing now. If you feel your experience is good, you will recommend it to your friends, the way they recommended theirs to you.

A person’s perceptions and responses that result from the use or anticipated use of a product, system or service.

User experience is how you feel before using something (a product, system or service), while you use it and after using it. ISO defines It as “a person’s perceptions and responses that result from the use or anticipated use of a product, system or service” (ISO 9241-210, 2009). Your perceptions are your feelings.

What is User Experience Design?

User Experience Design is a methodology of designing users’ overall experience of using a product. It involves structured user research, creation of information architecture, user interface design, interaction design, content strategy, and visual design. User-centered design requires analysis that is applied to human behavior. UX designs need be able to answer 5 questions: what, when, where, why and who would use a product. A UX designer’s job is to combine the user needs with business needs and coming up with designs that add value to the user’s life consequently making the product profitable for the business.

UX is beneficial from a business perspective as well. Now, what happens when the user is not satisfied with your product? Yes, the user goes to your competitor. A good UX thereby helps retain customers and help you get customer loyalty. It helps to increase efficiency and productivity. For instance, e-commerce websites, the better the UX, the faster users buy a product and more likely than not they will be coming back to buy again. The e-commerce website was efficient and helpful for users by being fast.

A classic and outstanding user experience means that the product or service met the exact needs of the user without any hassle. UX has a lot of disciplines in it. User Research, Information Architecture, Interface Design, Graphics and visual design, Content Strategy, Usability and Accessibility would be

the core disciplines of UX. A proper user experience would be a seamless combination of all these disciplines coming together to meet the needs of the user.

UX, UI and Usability: What is the difference?

We should always distinguish between UX and UI. User Interface is a means of UX and not UX itself. If for instance an e-commerce website for clothing is visually appealing and has clothes for both genders and kids but it doesn’t cater to elderly people. The UX would not be considered optimal. It could also be that it has an online payment option that accepts credit cards only then that would lead to a disappointment for debit card users. Similarly, Usability is how users use the interface to interact with the system. Usability and UX are not one and the same thing. Usability testing is done to verify whether the product is easy to use, learn and adapt to or efficient or not.

In short, a good UX only happens when it is incorporated in all aspects of the product design and development in order to make the end user’s life easier – by giving them a product that adds value to their life.