The way a user interacts with and experiences a product, system, or service is referred to as the user experience or UX for short. It encompasses a person’s perceptions of utility, usability, and efficiency. According to the Nielsen Norman Group, “user experience” encompasses all aspects of the end-interaction user’s with the company, its services, and its products.
Most businesses value improving user experience because poor user experience reduces product usage and, as a result, any desired positive impacts. Profitable design frequently clashes with ethical user experience goals and even causes harm.
Many practitioners interchange the terms. The term “usability” predates the term “user experience” and can improve or degrade a user’s interaction with website or software interfaces. Because usability is concerned with completing a task, aspects of user experience such as information architecture and user interface can both help and hinder a user’s experience with websites or software interfaces.
The terms are often used interchangeably because a user will, at a minimum, require sufficient usability to accomplish a task. UX design processes are relevant to software design, website design and graphic design to ensure the user is taken into consideration every step of the way.
Some background history of UX
Donald Norman introduced the term “user experience” to the general public in the mid-1990s. Norman never intended for the term “user experience” to be limited to the functional aspects of usage. Human-computer interaction is now present in almost every aspect of human activity, thanks to advancements in mobile, ubiquitous, social, and tangible computing technologies.
This has resulted in a shift away from usability engineering and towards a much broader range of user experience. It was critical in website design to balance the interests of various stakeholders, including marketing, branding, visual design, and usability.
Branding and marketing People needed to enter an interactive world where usability was essential. When designing websites, usability must consider marketing and branding.
The field of user experience is an evolution and extension of the field of usability. The emphasis is on both pleasure and value, as well as performance. The term was widely used at the beginning of the 1930s, according to Google’s Ngram Viewer. The term’s use in relation to computer software predates Norman as well.
Effects on end-users
A user’s experience with a system can be influenced by a variety of factors. To address the variety, user experience factors have been classified into three major categories: user state and previous experience, system properties, and usage context (situation). Understanding representative users, work environments, interactions, and emotional responses aids the UX process.
Some examples of aspects that can influence the UX include the following:
- Button layouts and colors
- Navigation elements such as links, icons, next/previous buttons etc
- Amount of content on the screen or page and how it is placed e.g. blocks of text or dot points
- Structure of menus and options
- Performance e.g. page loading time or app loading time
- Design consistency throughout the website or application in question
- Overall ease of use
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Related links from our glossary:
“User experience.” Wikipedia. February 3, 2005. Accessed June 6, 2021. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_experience.