Thanks to Shivanand Yerva for contributing to this article!
User experience (UX) is one of the largest differences between a product that sees enormous sales and one that sinks without a trace. When developing products, devices, and systems, there are numerous essential considerations. Many of them take the designer’s attention off the intended users. The field of user experience aims to bring the user to the center of the designer’s thinking to ensure products meet their needs.
User experience is the perceptions and responses that result from the use of a product, system, or service. The term is usually applied to the emotions felt while interacting with computer systems and user interfaces. But limiting it to computers is a convention, not a definition. Every product ever used has a user experience, whether it is a website, a can opener, or the clothes you are wearing.
Overview of UX
The UX field focuses on making the user’s experience as positive as possible. If the product is a physical device, does the user enjoy looking at, feeling, and holding it? Does it fit snugly in their hand, or is it too big and cumbersome? Does the weight affect their ability to move it as they would wish?
The ideal user experience might be to not notice about the product at all, and just accomplish their goals unconsciously. When you move your mouse on a screen, you probably don’t think about the physical machine you’re touching.
Likewise, when someone is using a non-tangible product, such as a computer application, is it enjoyable to look at? Can they navigate through the user interface intuitively? Are there sufficient cues to help guide them to their goal? Are the crucial aspects of a task visible as and when they are needed? UX design grapples with all these aspects of a what it is like to use a product. The goal is to make it as pleasant as possible.
Component Disciplines of UX
UX design includes fields from visual and sound design to human-computer interaction to information architecture. Very little of the user experience is just passive consumption.
For example, most Internet users are continually clicking, typing, switching between windows, and opening documents and applications. All of these require interacting with hardware and software, mostly without thinking.
Even when listening to music or watching videos, users are not entirely passive. They may be plotting their next move, scanning the user interface to make the whole experience as cohesive as possible, even when their aims seem unconnected. Therefore, a designer must accommodate these constant shifts in intention and provide the necessary features for smooth and straightforward interactions and transitions.
One cannot design a user experience, only design for user experience. You can’t build in the emotions you want your user to feel. All you as the designer can do is try to encourage some responses and distract from others.
Usability engineering is no longer focused merely on efficiency, effectiveness, and necessary subjective satisfaction. As computing technologies become more prevalent and more widespread, UX design is shifting and becoming broader. Now the field pays just as much attention to the user’s values, motivations, and feelings.