What is UX?
User experience typically refers to the experience someone has when using a digital interface of some kind. It can also refer to the experience of physical objects. Sometimes it’s both. OR… maybe there’s no interface at all. You walk into a room and it detects your presence and sets the heat and lighting the way you like it. Taken even further, it is the end-to-end experience someone has before, during and after engaging with an interface or object (the user journey). Peter Morville created the honeycomb diagram to describe the facets of the optimal user experience- one that is: useful, desirable, accessible, credible, findable, usable, and valuable. We could include mobile/cross-device-compatible in the ‘usable’ facet, although it might need one of its own.
Why does it matter?
One of our Harvard core values is to be user-focused. Who are your users? What are their goals? Who are your stakeholders? What are your business goals? Are both sets of goals being met? Can you answer these questions easily and completely? How do you answer them? By doing user research. If you don’t talk to your users, you won’t know how successful (or unsuccessful) you are.
Benefits of UX
- Design decisions based on business needs balanced with user needs save you from making mistakes in development which end up costing you time and money in the long run.
- Standard best practices make the experience more consistent for the users and the developers.