What Exactly is User Experience?

If something works well for you, a can opener, an elevator’s controls, a web site etc., Thats a good user experience. A bad User Experience simply means something doesn’t work well for you. It’s as simple as that. User Experience is what happens when you do something. A good user experience means you’re happy with what happened. A bad user experience means something did not work for you. This experience thing can be extended to anything. A great movie. A car that breaks down. A thing that doesn’t work and makes you angry. A mobile phone that you need to hold in a certain way that it even works… You experience something and then think how it was for you. That simple! All this hype and actually we’re just talking about how we feel about things. It’s nothing new. We just put a label on it. Industrial designers, artist and a whole bunch of other people have known about the importance of this for ages. On of the most interesting facets of user experience is that often a great user experience is often overlooked because it just works.

Not terribly long ago, The web and software in general was hard to use, ugly and boring. Companies only wanted to do things cheap and fast. Well, now we have learned that it’s pretty expensive and stupid to do something and have nobody buy the product. So things have changed. Now it’s all about making great stuff that works for customers. More focus on the users not the feature per se. Not because somehow companies started to care about people. It’s because making things good for customers has become the critical driver for business. Customers buy what they like. They’ll even pay more to get things that they want.You don’t need to go far for an example. Apple almost died before Steve Jobs rescued the company. He did it by concentrating on design and user experience. Now Apple is the biggest tech firm in the world. People are obsessed over iPhones, MacBooks and iPods even though they cost so much more than their competition.

Bottom line, Often the difference in success and failure of websites with similar features is the experience.