What in the World is UX? ui ux representations with tablet What in the World is UX? ui ux representations with tablet

What in the World is UX?

Recently someone showed me a post about UX that was put up on LinkedIn. The post went something along the lines of “UX isn’t about design. It’s not about the experience. It’s not about the product. It’s not about the people. It’s not even about the user.”

Naturally, I laughed about it. How could a whole discipline literally named “User Experience” not at least be about the user or the experience?

I forgot about the post for a few days, but the next time I saw the letters “U” and “X” next to each other, I remembered it and it got me thinking. What was this person trying to say? Is there something that I’m missing or don’t understand about UX? Then it dawned on me. Even though the post didn’t really get the point across particularly well, it started to make sense – UX isn’t about any of those things. It’s about all of them!

UX is about finding the perfect marriage of the experience, the design, and the product put together by the people (developers, designers, marketers, stakeholders, et al) to give the User a cohesive Experience.

That’s what UX is really about… at least from my perspective. So let’s have a look at each of the individual aspects of UX and see how they all fit together.

The User

Naturally, at the heart of UX is the user. Understanding the user’s needs, preferences, and behaviours is crucial in designing a product or service that resonates with them. This involves conducting user research, gathering feedback, and creating user personas to empathise with the target audience. This is the only way to truly build, design, or otherwise produce something that actually addresses a need or problem.

The Experience

Again, this may seem obvious to anyone with even a basic understanding of business. UX is all about crafting the overall experience of using a product or service. This includes everything from the first interaction with the product to the ongoing usage and beyond. The goal is to create a seamless and enjoyable experience that fulfils the user’s needs and exceeds their expectations. 

So here we have our first connection. What does the user want? What would they classify as an “enjoyable experience”? Does the experience even need to be enjoyable or should it lean more towards having superior functionality? Is there even a difference between enjoyable and functional? 

We discover all of these answers when we properly understand our users

The Design

No one likes ugly, difficult-to-use, cumbersome, or otherwise unpleasant products or services. Design plays a critical role in UX. It’s not just about making things look good, but also about creating interfaces that are intuitive, accessible, and user-friendly. Right? Well.. yes, of course it is, but going a step further, it’s also about having a good concept to begin with. Design begins at the conceptualisation stage. A Good design is about understanding the user’s mental models and designing a product or service that aligns with their expectations.

The People

People are at the centre of UX. But which people? We’ve already spoken about the user being at the heart of UX. The people we need to think about here are the designers, developers, product managers, researchers, and stakeholders. These are the people who will make or break the user’s experience. Collaborating with cross-functional teams is essential in creating a holistic user experience. This involves effective communication, empathy, and a shared vision for the product.

The Product

Finally, the product. UX is largely about the product itself. It’s about creating products that solve real problems and add value to the user’s life. This involves iterative design and testing to ensure (as we’ve discussed already) that the product meets the user’s needs and delivers an experience that is not only in line with expectations but actively delights the user.

So what am I trying to say? UX is not just about one element but about how all these elements interact and influence each other. It’s about understanding the user, designing the experience, collaborating with people, and creating a product that fulfils the user’s needs. By getting all of these ingredients just right, we can sit with our delicious pot of UX soup to share with our users. 

This is at least my take on the matter. What are your thoughts? 

Leave a comment for me below!

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