UX is how a person feels when interfacing with a system. This includes a website, web application, desktop software and basically any form of human/device interaction.
Most people fail to see the whole picture of “user experience.” And when you can’t see the forest for the trees, you’re missing a lot of factors that help to create an optimal user experience. That’s why having a comprehensive understanding of the entire umbrella of “user experience” is critical, backed with solid theory—especially since customer intelligence agency Walker predicts that experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020.
“(User experience) is used by people to say ‘I’m a user experience designer, I design websites’, or ‘I design apps.’ And they have no clue as to what they’re doing, and they think the experience is that simple device, the website, or the app, or who knows what. No! It’s everything—it’s the way you experience the world, it’s the way you experience your life, it’s the way you experience the service. Or, yeah, an app or a computer system. But it’s a system that’s everything.”
— Don Norman, pioneer and inventor of the term “user experience”
To put it simply, UX is important because it tries to fulfill the user’s needs. It aims to provide positive experiences that keep users loyal to the product/brand.
There is no right answer to that question. Truth is, user experience is different for everyone. The most important thing to remember when designing web and user interfaces is that you are not your users. Don’t assume you know what they want, or what they need. So how do you define a great experience? Get close with your users. Talk to them, watch them use your product, get inside their heads and ask yourself questions about their decisions. Your users and customers will teach you, so pay attention! Listen, observe and question.
Good user experience is clearly good for business. Studies show that companies that invest in UX see a lower cost of customer acquisition, lower support cost, increased customer retention and increased market share, according to a study done by Forrester. When compared to their peers, the top 10 companies leading in customer experience outperformed the S&P index with close to triple the returns. Forester Research shows that, on average, every dollar invested in UX brings 100 dollars in return. That’s an ROI of a whopping 9,900 percent.