What is User Experience?

Steve Quinn

08 Mar 2019

User Experience (UX) encompasses all aspects of the experiences that people have when they interact with products, services and technology in their day to day lives. As user experience designers we are focused on creating frictionless, enjoyable and memorable experiences for users. As technology develops, user expectations rise and companies must focus on providing users with great experiences or they will be left behind. Focusing on users of products and services helps to provide better usability, accessibility and better interactions, all of which are essential to exceptional user experience.

A person’s experience whilst using a product or service form the basis of their opinion of that company and brand as a whole, which means that a bad UX can be detrimental to your brand. A well thought out UX enables users to easily interact with your products and/or services and will boost customer satisfaction and your brand.

Exemplary user experiences meet the exact needs of the customer without confusion or effort, but they don’t just meet user needs, they meet them in simple and elegant fashion making the product or service a delight to own or a joy to use. In order to achieve a superb user experience, there must be a seamless marriage of numerous disciplines such as engineering, marketing, graphical, industrial and interface design.

Although they are often talked about together it is very important to differentiate between the broader concept that is the user experience (UX) and the user interface (UI). A user interface is the means by which humans interact with machines to complete tasks. This could be the amazon website that you interact with to order things online, the UI is the on-screen elements that allow you to input your address, your card details, to view the products available, all of this is the UI.

A user interface is an essential and very important part of the majority of products and pretty much every service, it contributes to the overall user experience, but just because the UI is great does not mean the UX is great. Consider this example, if a website that does movie reviews has a UI for finding a film that is perfect, the UX will still be poor for a user who wants information about a small independent release if the underlying database only contains movies from the major studios.

As the user interface enables the interaction between the human and the machine, usability is a quality attribute of the user interface, covering whether the system is easy to learn and efficient to use. Usability should not be confused with the broader concept of user experience although good usability contributes to good user experience.

In the video below Don Norman explains what the term User Experience (UX) means.

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