User experience (UX) is how a user interacts with and experiences a product, system, or service — whether that’s an app on their phone, a self-service kiosk in a store, or software on their computer.
UX is concerned with users’ perceptions of utility, ease of use, efficiency, and engagement. Good user experiences are intuitive, easy, and keep users coming back for more. But poor experiences can deflect users away from a brand permanently.
What is it?
User experience is concerned with how easy, intuitive, and engaging digital experiences are for customers and employees. It recognizes that if products or services aren’t simple to use or don’t perform to users’ expectations, users will instantly bounce off them and avoid using them in the future. This results in increased customer service costs and, potentially, a loss of business.
Organizations most commonly use UX in the creation of digital products and services, ensuring that they solve real problems for users and are as easy and satisfying to engage with as possible.
By helping people find their way around a product and ensuring that information, buttons, and paths are in the right places and easy to find, UX helps companies build loyalty and trust in the brand.
What’s in it for you?
Good UX engages and satisfies customers and internal users and keeps them coming back for more. It can yield significant revenue, retention, engagement, and satisfaction gains when done well.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that delivering good UX is enough to differentiate your brand or product. Good UX has become a basic expectation for customers and internal users. So, the biggest benefit you gain by enabling it is having the ability to control the way customers interact with your brand — this builds reputation and loyalty.
What are the trade-offs?
Delivering and maintaining strong UX isn’t easy. The field has quickly become a science in its own right, and mastering it requires expert knowledge of customer preferences, the psychology of digital engagement, common user journeys, and the technology used to deliver experiences.
To have the right impact, you need to embed UX in your culture. You must involve the right designers at every stage of decision-making. And you need to make frequent front and back-end changes as user needs change, and you identify new usage patterns.
Without that level of commitment and expertise, the changes you make can easily take UX in the wrong direction and end up causing additional frustration for users — turning them away instead of increasing loyalty and engagement.