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What does UX mean?

Ben Obear
April 29, 2015

Your product's User Experience (UX) is measured by how delighted your customers are after they've used your product.

If your customers think "that was easy", "that was cool" or "I totally get this" then your product has a great user experience. Your customers will struggle to understand what your product does or how to use it or how to create an account if your product has a poor user experience.

Products with poor user experiences tend to frustrate your customers because they don't understand how the product works. User experience is a comprehensive term referring to the practical contact a customer or end-user has with a product or service. The term refers not only to the efficiency of the interaction but also to the emotional satisfaction and perceived relationship quality that the user experiences through all senses. Because expectations of experiences change over time, user experience has no specific or concrete formula for success. UX is dynamic, changing as the expectations of an experience for an end-user changes.

Don't confuse your product's User Interface (UI) is often confused with user experience; however, the two should remain distinct. While UX takes in to consideration the entire relationship between an end-user and a product, service, website, or application, the UI specifically refers to the manner in which that interaction occurs. For instance; is the website easy to navigate? Is the service intuitive and self-explanatory? UI design requires the clear understanding of work-flow and task requirements. UX design requires the understanding of the current needs, desires, emotions and possible reactions of the end-user.

Design Restrictions

User interface (UI) design is a measurable attribute that defines the ease of use between a product and user.

Your user interface designer may be able to create the elements of interaction between a product and a user; however, this is mainly front-line tool-building. The interface designer does not take into account all the elements that go into the overall user experience such as visualization, color scheme, set expectations, marketing, and personality; and the list can go on and on. The goal of the UID is mainly restricted to managing expectations and directing user interaction. It is in this sense that a highly intuitive user interface design may fall flat on a user experience level.

However, a visually pleasing and engaging design cannot be thought of as a substitute for uncomplicated and accessible use. The experience designer will strive to transcend the material presented in order to create an overall provocative and compelling experience. If the UXD fails to take into account the effectiveness of user interactions, and the basic design flow is flawed, the emotions and reactions of that user may turn from positive to negative. When a user is unable to effectively interact with a product, the engaging content takes a backseat to the quality of the interaction.


It is; therefore, the responsibility of the UID to pave the way and create the elements for the actual usage between the system and end-user. User interface design is concerned about the effectiveness and efficiency of technical and physical elements, creating the components for input and output that address the ability of the user to interact with the system. User interface is focused on clarity, control, and enabling user interaction. It manages hierarchies and organization, work-flow and intuitive design. Taking into account elements such as informational architecture as well as visual and interactive design, user interface anticipates what a user may wish to do then creates the elements to ensure those actions are easily navigable.

It is the responsibility and objective of the UXD to create a positive and compelling multi-leveled user experience. It is the brand, the effect, the sum total of the person's experiences that should be the focus of the user experience designer. While the ease of interface certainly plays a role in the overall user experience, it is a tool towards the end design. User experience is about the derived value and quality of the interaction for the user. It is a compilation of interface design, marketing, engineering, visual design, and layout. User experience strives to create a lasting, positive, engaging brand experience which will continue to engage the user mentally even after the actual experience has concluded. UX is the sum total of the end-user's interaction and the memory that will carry forth.

End Goals

User interface is a tool; user experience is a goal. Interfaces do the job of managing expectations while facilitating actions and their performances can be measured. UI design exists to clarify, direct, and enable interactions. They help users understand inherent relationships in product content. Meanwhile; UX can be conceived of as an art form. It is art form based on the user's perceptions, requirements, and behaviors. A user experience is dynamic, based on previous experiences and expectations as well as the characteristics and content of the interaction. It is influenced by each and every element of the product - function, speed, design, tone, etc. UX becomes the brand. It is user experience which will be remembered; therefore, UX transcends the actual engagement and will be the main force determining future utilization.

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Ben Obear
San Francisco