Many people have heard about the term “User Experience” or UX. However, what this term actually means is not clear to many of us.
The definition of User Experience as found in literature is the following:
"User Experience" encompasses all aspects of the end-user's interaction with the company, its services, and its products.”
In practice user experience encloses all the types of online and offline interaction of a user with your company. To help understand the importance of user experience we will use in this post the example of company website to demonstrate the different aspects of UX as well as the different points of improvement.
The user wants to get some specific information about company and thus is navigating through the website. The interaction with the website - the easiness of finding the required information, the user interface, the speed, and quality of the design – can create a good or a bad experience for that user. If the user finds the right information on the company website, he is more likely to ask for a proposal or contact the right teams within that company, in a different case the user might even create a negative opinion about the quality of the services of the company in general.
So UX is not only the visual interface of your product. It is the entire journey a user of your product takes. This includes:
- The process of discovering your product or service
- The interactions with the interface of your product or the company`s website
- The feelings and thoughts when completing a task on the website or with the product.
- The impressions user gets during the complete interaction process with the company and product.
The goal is to create a website where the users can achieve their goals, and eventually revisit. But what makes the user experience of your site good? User Experience focusses on the end-user and the achievement of their goals. There are 7 facets to keep in mind when designing for the User Experience:
- Usable: Site must be easy to use
- Useful: Your content should be original and fulfill a need
- Desirable: Image, identity, brand, and other design elements are used to evoke emotion and appreciation
- Valuable: Site must deliver value for all stakeholders.
- Findable: Content needs to be navigable and locatable onsite and offsite
- Credible: Users must trust and believe what you tell them
- Accessible: Content needs to be accessible to people with disabilities
Another factor that is very important to look at, is the current usage of your website. What are people looking for, which different audiences can you identify and how can you differentiate the website for these different audience and how do users achieve their goals on the site? The current usage can be evaluated based on analytics and usability tests. If you find issues a redesign can help to solve these issues.
To value the User Experience testing with actual users is key. Getting data from focus groups, diary sessions, ethnographic research, usability studies and statistics will give you insights in behavior, goals and lives of your end-user. A powerful User Experience begins and ends with this kind of data and is defined by a consistent and valuable engagement with users.
One should never forget that in this fast pacing, constantly evolving technological world the users are always in the center, demanding responding solutions to their changing needs. Focus on user experience design and great customer service are keys to competitive advantage.