Recently, many people have asked me, “What is User Experience (UX)?”
Let me try to answer.
Imagine tomorrow is your partner’s birthday.
You’ve booked a table at that restaurant everyone has been recommending to you. The dishes posted to their Instagram and Facebook pages look amazing, and both profiles are filled with comments and testimonials attesting to their dining experiences.
On the day, you finally arrive to the door of the restaurant. Upon entering you notice the background music and scent of mixed spices wafting through the air. Although the restaurant is filled with people, everyone looks relaxed and at ease. Perhaps the calming melodies of the music are helping to set the mood.
The hostess guides you to your table where you find a letter addressed to yourself and a gift box for your partner. At what seems like just the right moment, a friendly waiter approaches and introduces himself.
You look over the easily readable menu and order your meals. While waiting for the starter to arrive you enjoy your conversation with your partner. The level of music is right. No one is interrupting you.
Without long delay, the first course arrives to your table and is as delicious as you imaged it would be. It looked and tasted great. It made you feel good. Overall, it was a great night.
User experience is the process of booking a table; finding reviews and testimonials; the interactions of the hostess and waiter; the ambiance of the restaurant; the chef; the menu; the food; the plate.
User experience is a combination of all elements which define the experience of a user. Booking a table at a restaurant differs from buying curtains online or booking a holiday—however each of these actions are comprised of multiple involved elements, all of which contribute to the overall experience. Good UX is the seamless interaction of these elements.
Bad UX occurs when one of the involved elements fails. A rude waiter. A hair in your food. A cracked plate.