What is User Experience (UX)?

The second blog of a multi-part series to guide global enterprises and federal government agencies on best practices that drive successful operational efficiency through better UX using an Agile methodology
By Jon Fukuda

Why do companies overlook the importance of UX at the beginning of product, IT systems and digital initiatives? Maybe it’s because UX is a broad term that needs explanation for professionals not accustomed to the tech world’s jargon.

So what exactly is UX?

UX is the process of creating products—such as web, mobile or computer applications—and IT systems that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users. This involves the design of the entire process of discovering, acquiring, and integrating the product into one’s life. This includes aspects of branding, visual design, usability, and function. The successful end result of UX is products and systems that are easy and pleasing to use. As I mentioned in my first blog of this series , many research reports tell us that organizations don’t quite grasp what great UX is, why we need it and how it can benefit them.

UX is generally mistaken as merely a tactical approach to systems design, something that can be applied once the system business and technical fundamentals are defined. Yet businesses like Apple, Google, Airbnb, Uber, Netflix and a myriad of other disruptive technologies are proving that design driven innovation, leading with a human-centered UX strategy, will ultimately dominate. This is because the systems are designed around the users and their contexts with careful consideration for how the technology can improve the quality of their lives. When this is the core strategy, you can’t lose.

Kitty Yeung, Head of Product Design at Shazam, explains that back in the ‘80s when you had your VCR, you read through the manual and you figured out how to use it. We don’t have time for that anymore. That’s why her job and the job of other UX and design professionals is to make things very easy to understand the first time you see it. This short video includes clips from Yeung and other heads of product design and UX research at ebay, Pinterest and Uber that explain why mobile UX is so important.

What’s the ROI of UX?

Even a tiny effort in UX activities in the early phases of project conceptualization becomes greatly beneficial in the long run. A report from Forrester Research, “Customer Experience Index Ranking and Watermark Consulting,” indicates that every $1 invested in UX brings $100 in return [1].

If you need to make the business case for investing in UX more ROI of UX statistics that can help are found in the infographic, Positive ROI of Great UX, below: (Sharing note: please share this original page or credit insert Limina URL in your posts or tweets—thank you!)

The impact of investing in a UX-centric approach also includes these benefits:

  • Reduced risk of building the wrong system: the right foundation is paved before development starts
  • Reduced development cost and time: validated user stories and a clear understanding of the user segment—and redundancy in and across siloed applications is lessened
  • Less support calls: systems are intuitive, usable and useful for consumers and citizen’s
  • Increased user satisfaction and improved user experience
  • Increased employee and internal constituent satisfaction and improved experience: training becomes easier as complex computer interactions are simplified
  • Reduced expenses: less money is spent on technology and service providers

I hope this blog shed some light on what UX means, why we need it and the many benefits of it. Feel free to share this blog https://limina.wpengine.com/what-is-ux, the Positive ROI of Great UX infographic. and the MUX (mobile UX) video with those you work who may have a different understanding of what UX is. Once everyone is on the same page about the importance of UX, I believe your organization will benefit tremendously from prioritizing the UX process before initiating new product and IT systems development projects—making these initiatives much more successful.

Keep a lookout for the next few blogs in this series, which will discuss the five key steps to driving operational efficiency through better UX.

Got more time to kill? 

Listen to Jon Fukuda talk a little more about Limina and UX in this Pod Cast by the Longmont Observer in their Discovering Longmont Businesses segment.

Read Part 1

Read Part 3