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What is UX?

Drew Hendricks
Unsplash image of person scrolling images on an ipad

UX, short for User Experience, is a significant component of every business because a product or service is only as good as its UX.

We often hear a lot about Customer Experience (CX), but most do not know that UX falls under the umbrella of CX. Therefore, the User Experience (UX) is a part of the Customer Experience (CX).

what is UX and what is CX comparison chart

Most businesses place their focus on customer experience, causing other essential elements to be missing from their strategy. These elements are what every company needs to succeed, and they lie under user experience. But, without knowing what UX is, it can be difficult to know what those pieces are and how to ensure your business includes them.


What Does UX Mean?

User experience (UX) involves an individual’s or user’s emotions and attitudes when using a particular product, system, or service. It includes an array of human-computer interaction, like practical, experiential, productive, meaningful and valuable aspects, as well as product ownership. 

Furthermore, UX incorporates a person’s perceptions of system aspects, like utility, ease of use, and efficiency. To put it plainly, the user experience is about how a person uses the technical aspects, products, and services of your business. It is something that needs to be continuously revised over time due to evolving usage habits. 

what is UX circle graphic with labels

For example, a website’s usability and responsiveness will impact how users perceive the company who owns the website. When a person goes to a site that is slow to load and not user-friendly, typically they’re going to have a negative user experience. This can be make or break for a business. In 2018, 48% of people cited that a website’s design is the number one factor in determining the credibility of a business.

Now let’s say a person buys a vacuum cleaner, for instance. After taking it straight out of the box, they plug it in and discover it does not work. The use (or non-use, in this example) of a product affects how the person views the product and business. In less than ten minutes, a product-user can go from loving your company to viewing it as unreliable.

glass ketchup bottle vs plastic ketchup bottle

To some, this may sound a lot like customer experience (CX), but it is different. CX goes beyond UX, as it contains aspects outside of the computer and product interactions that user experience does not cover. Therefore, the customer experience is broader and focuses on the entire experience. UX, however, is a part of CX, but it is more focused on the usage part of the whole experience and how customers perceptions change because of it.


Why is UX Important?

Every interaction your customers have with your company uses some or all of the five human senses – touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. Your job as a business is to ensure the senses are satisfied, which means meeting the expectations of every customer.

UX aims to provide positive experiences that keep users loyal to the product or brand. It is a supportive component of the customer experience, as it helps make the entire experience a pleasant one. 

It’s also important that your customers become users – users of your products, services, website, blog, and social media accounts (to name a few). If your customer’s first experience is unsatisfying, they may not become users at all. This negatively impacts the entire customer experience, ultimately creating unhappy customers and costing you future sales.

88% of consumers less likely to return to site after bad user experience

Some companies might avoid making any UX adjustments due to the perceived cost. But, often the reward is less costly than the amount that comes from customer loss. After all, it’s five times more expensive to attract new customers compared to keeping existing ones.

“If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.” 
— Dr. Ralf Speth, Chief Executive Officer, Jaguar Land Rover

With that said, an entirely different outcome occurs when UX becomes a priority. Research suggests that a well-conceived, frictionless UX design could potentially raise customer conversion rates up to 400%. That means new and existing users are satisfied with their experience and are willing to purchase again.


3 Ways to Improve UX

“The next big thing is the one that makes the last big thing usable.”
— Blake Ross, Co-creator of Mozilla Firefox

If you feel your business has room for improvement in the UX department, there are several things you can do to change it for the better.

1. Check the Usability of Your Website

There are numerous things you will want to look for when exploring your business website. With the customer’s perspective in mind, look out for website loading time, user-friendliness, convenience, design layout, aesthetics, and interactivity.

If you find your website is clunky, unorganized, and not mobile-friendly, you are going to need to improve this quickly. 52% of global internet traffic comes from mobile devices. Those mobile users are doing more than just browsing from their devices, they’re buying as well.

If you leave a dysfunctional website as-is, you are automatically failing at one crucial part of the entire customer experience: the user experience. 

website user experience stats

Your website is a representation of your business. How a person uses it affects how they view their entire experience with your company and that of the business itself.


2. Be Mindful of How You Communicate

In every company, there are terms used to describe particular aspects of the industry it is a part of. As most people do not use the technical terms that your industry does, so be mindful of the words you use. 

When describing a product or service on your website or blog, stick with common vocabulary. Using terms and phrases only a small percentage of people know about excludes the majority of website visitors and results in a poor user experience.

Also, be considerate of people’s attention span and their desire for well-crafted visuals, including the text portion of your website. A wall of text is your enemy. Break up your content into smaller, bit size pieces of information to make it easier for visitors to read. 

website typography best practices list

The average person only reads 20% of your website. So your content needs to be scannable. 


3. Create a User-Centered Website Design

A perfect example of user-centered design is Apple anticipating how its customers will engage with their products. They use that vision to design devices and software to leverage the experiences. According to the Design Value Index, design-driven companies can outperform their competitors by as much as 228%.

ipad mini copy and product screenshot

To create a user-centered design, you will need to have insight into customer behavior, patterns, and expectations. The use of analytics is an excellent way to obtain this information and to use it to your advantage when improving the user experience.

UX design is nothing without human interaction. Create content on your website and blog that people can connect with. 60% of consumers feel more positive about a brand after consuming their content.


Wrapping it All Up

Remember, the customer experience is the overall experience. The user experience involves the use of things related to the business like the website, blog, products, and services.

If your products and services are not designed with the customer in mind, no one will use them. Every piece and detail of your website and products matter. No part is too small, insignificant or irrelevant. The perception of your business is based on all of the user design elements. Make sure you take care of each of them. In doing so, you are taking care of your customers.

Ultimately, UX will affect CX, either positively or negatively. The more you pay attention to how people use parts of your business, the better your chance is to improve the overall customer experience. The knowledge on how to improve performance is available, you just have to look. 

The best way to sum up, “What is UX?” is with this quote: 

“People ignore design that ignores people.”
— Frank Chimero




Image Credits

Feature Image: Unsplash / Taras Shypka
Image 1: via Customer Experience Lab
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mage 2: via Interaction Design Foundation
Image 3: via Accomplice
Image 4: via Toptal
Image 5: via Evry
Image 6: via How to Get Online
Image 7: via Apple

Drew Hendricks author bio