One of the words you’d hear being used quite frequently – user experience, or UX. User experience is, according to the Oxford Journal, UX is all about “the improvement of customer satisfaction and loyalty through the utility, ease of use, and pleasure provided in the interaction with a product.” While there are no objective standards UX is essentially a practice which encapsulates multiple disciplines such as interaction design, visual design, information architecture etc.
User experience and user interface became standard practice ever since Apple’s launch of the Macintosh in 1984 revolutionised the way users navigated their desktop computers for decades to come, with the event set in motion from Steve Jobs’ visit to Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center. Since then, UX has become a daily occurrence in our lives; from the next website you visit, down to any product or service which you consume.
It’s subtle and we wouldn’t really notice it only when it’s no longer there. So here are just a few pointers on why UX matters that much.
It is an unspoken fulfillment of a brand’s promise
Martyn Reding concisely summarises the practice of UX as the effective understanding on how content, research, strategy, and how it directly affects the selling and use of a digital product or service.
“In many instances, a user experience happens by the incidental smashing together of code and assumptions about people, so I think the distinction is in brands that recognize the value of a carefully crafted digital experience.” Martyn Reding, Head of Digital Experience at Virgin Atlantic
He goes on to emphasise that the value of a well crafted digital experience must be well understood by companies, because it is considered as an unspoken acknowledgement of how pleasant a customer’s experience is and how that has a commercial impact to them.
UX is a practice of building products with the customer in mind
UX is merely just building a product and then firing it out to the masses in hopes of making a quick buck. It is all about acquiring information from customers regarding any woes they might be facing and then creating a product or service which to solve a customer’s problem. Sometimes an idea may be good in theory, but hearing what the customer has to say is still the best way of knowing if your idea or design has succeeded.
“Design ideas are validated through real customer feedback and iterated on to ensure the final product will work well for those that will be using it.”- Marieke Mccloskey, UX Researcher
Empathy is one of the main motivators in UX design
While an experience is intangible and cannot be designed from scratch, but the criteria that distinguishes a good experience from a terrible one can be easily identified.
“UX design is about delighting users by anticipating their needs and giving them something they didn’t think to ask for.” – Reed Jones, Sr. UX Researcher at Autodesk
When executed perfectly, it creates a seamless experience which naturally conceals the designed elements of the experience; meaning that their needs have already have been anticipated even before asking. The ability to successfully accommodate the customer’s need without their request is a strong pull factor for anyone who is contemplating on using your product in the long term. As they say, first impressions matter.
Retaining prospective leads depends greatly on UX design
Speaking of first impressions, do you know it takes only 7 seconds for a first impression to be formed about you. Good UX can reward you greatly by giving you the momentum you need to propel your business forward. However, poor UX could also do the exact opposite and turn any prospective customers away from your site.
Thus it is vital that you invest some time to ensure that your UX is well designed as it could make or break the success of your product or service.
UX is akin to a product or service’s visual identity
With visually oriented platforms such as Instagram on the rise, visual branding is slowly becoming embedded in the way we perceive a brand, product or service; and since UX is one of a customer’s contact points with a product/service, a bad UX could leave a huge dent towards their impression of your offerings.
Therefore even if it’s more subtle, the effects of UX are far reaching, and could be the difference between a satisfied, loyal customer, and one with nothing but bad things to say.
That said, UX can be regarded as a practice of designing your offerings with the customer in mind at every stage of the design process i.e. empathy, and that good UX is all the difference between being successful or not.
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