Have you ever come across a site that just feels good to use?
The pages load quickly. The action steps are clear. The site makes it so easy to buy that new golf club that you can simply add the item to your shopping cart, check out and pay within 2 minutes (Shout out, Amazon)?
Now that is good user experience.
User experience (UX) design is a discipline that’s misunderstood by many. It’s not to be confused with user visual design (how the pages look visually) or information architecture (the organization of content).
Wikipedia defines the practice as such:
User experience design (UXD or UED) is the process of enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty by improving the usability, ease of use, and pleasure provided in the interaction between the customer and the product.
“Pleasure” is a key piece to this statement. User experience is not just about usability – it’s just as much about feelings. Ask yourself, “How can we truly make our users ‘feel’ good about using this website”.
User experience is not just used for web development. Nearly everything you interact with in your daily life has had the process of user experience design applied to it – some better than others. But the good ones all “feel” good.
- The beep that the self check-out register makes at the grocery store after you scan an item, assuring you that the register scanned the item.
- A subtle visual indicator on an e-commerce site when you add that new sweater to your cart. It’s a sense of feedback to the end-user – a feeling that “okay, I’ve done that properly”.
- The “swoosh” sound your iPhone mail makes after you successfully send an email.
Designers really care about the user. They design in a way that removes barriers, builds trust, is familiar, and creates delight. And even if you’re not a UX designer, everyone knows a good user experience when they feel it.