What is UX?
User experience (UX) refers to a person’s emotions and attitudes about using a particular product, system or service. It includes the practical, experiential, affective, meaningful and valuable aspects of human–computer interaction and product ownership.
From Wikipedia, Free encyclopedia
In the modern context, User Experience (referred to as UX) is a form of Human-Computer-Interaction. As a matter of fact, a software system or a product is connected to a user through the UX it provides. In a very non-technical context, imagine a steel kettle without a handle. Once the water is boiled, how would a user interact with the kettle to meet the requirement?
Similarly, if a software system (merely a website, web application or a desktop software) does not have a proper interfacing method with the user, it will be regarded as useless. This is due to the fact that, no matter what complex functionalities are fed into the system, if a user cannot interact with the system with comfort and familiarity, the functionalities would be unreachable.
Therefore, we could consider UX simply as “how a person feels when interfacing or interacting with the system”. Some people mistakenly consider UX as Usability or as User Interface. However, UX doesn’t limit to either of these. It is much more than a simple or a complex UI or Usability.
The components of UX are as follows.
- Value (Is it useful?)
- Usability (Is it easy to use?)
- Adoptability (Is it easy to start using?)
- Desirability (Is it engaging and interactive?)
A system or an application with satisfactory UX should appeal the user instantly. Users should start downloading the application and should identify how to complete tasks without a major hassle. Further, the product or the application should add value to the user which would make them return to it more than once.
Why is UX important?
The world is moving towards user-centered design with the understanding of the balance off between business needs and user needs. During early stages, designers built what the client requested based on the designer’s perspective. However, this leads to complications because the way the user describes the requirement does not match with the output they expect. This is where user experience come into play.
In order to achieve good user experience the designers need to have empathy towards the users of the system. Satisfactory user experience mainly comes from understanding.
- Who does the user want to be?
- What does the user want to do?
- How does the user want to feel?
Answering these questions through UX would make the product usable, user-friendly, understandable and useful.
Who is responsible for UX in a system? During early days and even in the present context with startups and small-scale development, there is no specific person to tone user experience in a system. However, the industry moving towards an era, where UX is a vital component is software design though it does not have a clear cut phase in the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC).
A UX engineer and a team of experts with UI and UX handles the User Experience of a system in order to make a system the “best fit” for a user. This takes place through all phases of the SDLC and the team has close interaction with the user until the final product is released.
Here is a brief comparison of a UX designer and a UI designer.