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UX stories #1: What the heck is UX

Imagine you have an e-shop. You sell better products than others, you offer them for lower prices than others. You have your web made by an agency for thousands of euros. The agency ensured that you have access to analytical data, you ordered advertisement and you watch the number of visits growing day by day. However, conversions are still very close to zero. You do not understand why and your wallets are becoming emptier and emptier. So you start to investigate a little bit – the data show that the majority of users put items into the shopping basket, get through the whole shopping process, but they never click on the “buy” button.

Why is it so? Analytical data may show you at which point users leave your e-shop. However, you do not know the reason why they did it. All you have are only hypotheses. So how is it possible to verify the hypotheses, correct the mistakes on your website or, possibly, even increase sales? The answer may be the UX. Maybe you have heard about it, maybe not. The UX is a design focused on users and this is exactly the missing element successful companies benefit from. It is an intersection of needs of users and needs of business.

Let’s describe it more professionally:

User experience, abbreviated to the UX, also called experience design. These are the names which connect all factors influencing user’s overall perception of a system (product, web). In short – it is user’s emotional experience.

When interacting with any system, several factors exist which influence user’s emotional (in other words “spontaneous”) reaction. Appearance, response of the environment, familiarity with the environment and usability are only a few of the elements which create the overall “experience”. They can be described as a “feeling” or “emotional perception”. In general, the essence of user experience can be described as the interconnection of multiple disciplines: graphical design, UI design, usability, copywriting, information architecture, marketing, etc.

People often consider UX design to be a part of the production process. They perceive it as a task which must be fulfilled in order to proceed to another task. However, this is not true.

“Do it in a way that also idiots understand – however, someone will create even a better idiot one day”

-Anonymous quote, 1902

UX is not just a part of a process - UX is the process itself (and the never ending one). There is no such person who would come and “do the UX”. This is a question of multiple disciplines, where theoretical as well as practical experience from various areas is required, such as interaction design, psychology or research. In brief – the whole team works on the resulting UX. Yes, also Yvonne from the support section. And yes, also Mike, who uploads products on your e-shop website. And yes, Suzie from the marketing section as well.

It is essential to understand that UX design is not the same thing as usability or UI design. Usability is measuring of the extend to which a system is usable and UI design is only one of the factors which influence the resulting user experience.

What is the conclusion then? UX design can be one of the factors leading to success or failure of your online business. It would be good to consider in what extend you are able to benefit from it and to start using it.

To learn more about this particular topic:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_experience

http://www.kickerstudio.com/2008/12/the-disciplines-of-user-experience/

 

 

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