There’s UX in everything
User Experience (UX) is a term that’s most commonly used in reference to websites/apps. However everything you interact with on some level provides you with an experience, a ‘user’ experience, and the hope is that these experiences are good. For example, a spoon can have a user experience but you don’t see too many usability tests or story boards created with a spoon as the central focus! A good spoon will first and foremost, provide functionality. It is a tool to get a certain type of food safely from the bowl, into your mouth. It should not be made of the right metal so it is not going to contaminate your food and also so that is not too heavy. But it must be heavy enough to withstand being dropped, bitten (occasionally!) or bent.
Once the spoon fulfills it’s role as the best piece of scooping cutlery available, other aspects of the spoon can be examined. The handle can be designed to fit perfectly into the palm of your hand, the weight of the spoon face and the handle can both weigh the same to ensure minimum torque on your wrist, the texture of the metal can be experimented with, the colours, the finish and so on and so on.
UX vs UI
It’s important to strive for the sweet spot between UI (User Interfaces) and UX. This is when great products/services are made. You can have the most visually captivating and dynamic web page ever seen, but if people can not simply navigate the menu bar your site has failed on the UX side. Conversely if your site has been simplified, iterated a thousand times and designed with the end user in mind but you don’t use nice visuals and colours the User Interface will suffer.
UX in services
It’s no wonder that some people have favourite barbers, coffee shops, clothes shops and so on. Each person (user) has a set of requirements and preferences that they expect to get from the service they are using. For example Barber A and Barber B are the same distance from our users house and cost the same price. Barber A there is always a queue and they are a bit expensive but they spend a long time on each customer until the customer is satisfied. Barber B the queue is shorter but they are not as diligent and Barber A and they’re cheaper. Depending on the person Barber A might be preferable or maybe barber B, but most of the time it comes down to customer service, which is another form of User Experience.
Whether people are conscious of their attraction to certain goods and services or not, they are there. Like how often do you say ‘I love that song’ and then go on to list reasons why you like it relating to the melodies, beat and rythm? Never. This is because so many decisions we make are subconscious and we just say ‘I just like that son’ and if we are pressed further we might dip into our mind for some reasons why. The same goes for foods we enjoy, clothes we like and so on. Good design and UX targets the subconscious and makes you like it without even realising it.
UX in the people
That’s right there’s UX in people too. Your friends, family and associates all provided you with a unique experience. But applying the term UX to people is an interesting one because it implies that you would only ever surround yourself with people who can offer you value and maybe you would only surround yourself with people who offer you value, and that’s cool. But you don’t get to choose the people around you all the time for example you don’t get to choose your friends or family and to a large extent you don’t get to choose the people you work with. You can choose your job but each job comes with a bunch of people who are non negotiable in your contract.
UX in the future
So in order to deliver a compelling user experience you want to appeal to as many people as possible and create an experience for them that is both memorable and enjoyable, the type of experience that will prompt them to tell their friends and leave with a smile on their face.