What is User Experience (UX) Design?

So, I have made much fuzz about the benefits of user experience design to brands in the part 1 and part 2 of this series, yeah? Now, the immediate question would be, what is user experience design? This is like a bottom up approach–I started from the benefits and now walking all the way up.

Disclaimer: I must state that this post is not intended to be in any way academic but the goal here is to make you see the value of user experience design without having to know the inner workings of the discipline.

The term “user experience” was coined by a cognitive science researcher, Dr. Donald Norman.

Donald Norman

Dr Donald Norman

He was the first to describe the importance of user-centered design–a notion that design decisions should be based on needs and wants of users. In his own words, “I invented the term because I thought human interface and usability were too narrow. I wanted to cover all aspects of the person’s experience with the system including industrial design, graphics, the interface, the physical interaction, and the manual. – See more at: bit.ly/1Hj1iNk

Ok, let me break it down in simple layman’s term. User experience (often abbreviated as UX) is how a person feels, what he appreciates, and his overall experience when interfacing with a system. System here could be a website, a web application or desktop software, and in modern context, wearable technology e.g. Google glass, Apple Watch, Nike Handband etc.

What is user experience design

Courtesy of agitraining.com

User experience design encompasses all aspects of the user’s interaction with a brand, its services and its products.

Experts in this line of work are often referred to as User Experience Designers or UX Designers for short. They are required to study and evaluate how users feel about a system. They take into consideration things like ease of use, perception of value, utility, efficiency in performing tasks, reactions at different points of engagements, satisfaction ratings etc.

Why is user experience design important?

At the core of any UX effort, is ensuring that users find value in what you are providing to them. It focuses on understanding users, what they need, what they value, their abilities, and also their limitations. It also takes into account the business goals and objectives of the group managing the project.

Sad UX Happy

UX makes the difference

UX could be the difference between a sad and a happy customer. Remember, consumers of your product and/or services don’t just take your word for it anymore. They also listen to what other consumers are saying. A satisfied customer can go a long way in your advertising campaign. So also a dissatisfied one.

When a user experience designer is engaged, some of the following items would be his focus point:

Accessible: Consideration must be made for all users and this is where persona definition comes to play. Users love when they can experience your brand on all major platforms, For example, they want to get to you on their mobile devices.

Useful: Whatever you are providing whether a product or a service, must be original and meet a need. I stand to be corrected but this is essentially the crux of user experience design.

Usable: The user experience designer makes sure that your provisions are easy to use. This is key to repeat business. No one would waste time on doing a task if they have alternatives. Not even you.

Desirable: Evoking good emotions that translates to appreciation is a product of UX. Users love to associate with things that move them towards a happy or satisfactory experience. They want more and would often come back.

Consistent: If users are confused about anything, they would move on. A user experience designer makes sure there is consistency so users can find their way around without difficulty.

The listing above is not exhaustive or conclusive by any chance. I  just came up with this short list and hopefully, it gives you an idea of UX design and its importance.

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