What is User Experience or UX?
User experience or UX, as the term explicitly states, is the experience of the user with a product (software).
It includes user interaction, engagement, and most importantly the experience with the aspects of the product’s services such as the design, performance, functions, features, usability, durability, problem solving, etc.
A user experience design is basically the product design studied from the perspective of the user. What the user feels about the product’s design, how is it helpful, how well it adheres to the organizational goals and ideologies.
Examples of UX can be the ease of using a software application, user-friendliness of the website, simplicity in device operation, and everything that revolves around the user’s experience with the product’s services.
UX advancement and enhancement are vital and valuable in software companies. It is directly linked to product excellence.
User experience is one of the key objectives of designers and developers to ensure that the user has the best experience while making use of the product services. The design and development teams aim at enhancing the product’s capabilities, features, and ease of handling when UX improvement is concerned.
It is also important to note that a poor user experience can sabotage the efforts of marketing and development teams. It can happen that a software product has a lot of relevant features and uses but the user is unable to navigate through the software and faces difficulty in availing the services, due to reasons like low performance, complexities of functions, or other issues that account for a bad experience for the user.
Importance of User Experience (UX) in product development
User experience in product development is related to the designing aspect of the development cycle.
The UX design aims at adding meaning to the product, so as to give the best experience to the user. The UX designer designs the whole process of product integration that involves the functions, service, performance, and design.
A positive user experience shall be the goal of the designers, good UX provides multifold benefits to the business. It is crucial in SaaS businesses.
In technical terms, we can say that positive UX increases the conversion rate of users whereas a negative or unsatisfactory UX brings down the conversion rate of users signing up or subscribing, or purchasing the software.
If the experience is good, the user will tend to use the product more and more, which will reflect better sales and profits. Also, good UX supports the marketing strategies as well as provides validation to the claims made by the business to the market.
The domain of aspects of the product or business that are impacted by the user experience expands beyond user satisfaction. A poor user experience can hamper the product’s image, its marketing, and in the end, it is indicative of the fact that users aren’t satisfied with the product, they aren’t able to leverage its services in the best and easiest way. Bad UX can lose many customers or potential customers to the business resulting in poor sales.
It is observed that the success of a mobile app or a website or any other software depends hugely on the user experience it offers. The users are very likely to migrate to other brands if the UX is not engaging and intuitive.
Thus, the influence of UX is spread throughout the entire business, not just limiting it to the engagement of the user with the product.
How is it different from user interface (UI)?
The user interface is related to all the visual elements of the software product with which the user interacts such as the icons, buttons, dialogue box, typography, color palette, etc. Everything that a user sees and/or clicks, basically.
It is the interface for visual communication and connection between the product and the user.
The user experience on the other hand is related to all the actions a user performs on the product and the level of ease and comfort experienced in the course of action. Specifically, how helpful the design of a product is.
UX evolves continuously with the evolution of user’s needs, behavior, and usage.
Principles and key points to be considered for User Experience
As a developer or designer coming up with an effective and intuitive UX for the user, certain checkboxes must be fulfilled.
- The product’s ultimate goal is to fulfill the user’s needs so that should be prioritised.
- Making creative and innovative designs aimed at problem solving with the help of design tools.
- Consistency should be maintained so as to not disturb the user’s relationship or familiarity with the product.
- Accessibility of the product for maximum number of people. It should be easy to operate for all kinds of target users.
- Establish credibility and reliability for the product through UX.
- Have interesting, intriguing, minimal, and understable UI. Make good use of colors, animations, typography to enhance the feel and look of the product.
According to Boersma’s T model a user experience is required to ace in the given key aspects of the product. These are research, usability, information architecture, interaction design, visual design, and content.
For the users to have the best experience the UX design should have certain features that include- usefulness, ease, desirability, navigability, accessibility and credibility. These are the major factors that determine the effectiveness of any user experience design.
It is the discovery and analysis of a user’s behaviour, product handling, conditions of operation, needs, etc. through user feedback. This helps in improving the UX by aligning it with the authentic real-world user issues and behavior and also helps in designing innovative methods for a better user experience.