User eXperience (UX)
An introduction to user experience (UX) and how it applies to web projects.
What is UX?
While visiting a website, a user experiments a series of feelings. The global experience of this given user is the outcome of the interaction between the visited website and the user’s reason and emotions. The sum of all the feelings a user will come through during his/her visit is called the User eXperience.
The UX on a website is the general case that results from either the sum of all the specific cases, either a forecast of a lambda user experience.
The elements of UX
The first thing we think about when hearing “interaction between the website and the user” is the User Interface, which is a real big part of the design process. But this is far from being the sole part. Along with it, we have to consider a reasonable amount of parameters (the user’s environment regarding surrounding light, vision capacities, web performances, hardware equipment and so on), interaction design (“if a portion of text is not clickable, should it be underlined?”) and copywriting (“is my content understandable by the user?”). Experience is literally an event leading to awareness, this event being the time the user will spend on our website.
UX Design: caring about users for our own purpose
The User eXperience can not be designed in the first meaning of this term: it can not be conceived. Each mind has his own way to work. The sole way to proceed is to forecast, anticipate, project what could the interaction between the user and the website look like, and to test in order to ensure our hypothesis and patterns are right, to draw a plan of the most preferred experience we would like our users to have.
If UX can not be designed, we can design while caring about our users’ future experiences. This is what is nowadays called "UX Design": conceiving a website permanently thinking about the user’s reason and his/her emotions in order to ensure that the time spent on the website is as efficient as possible and matches the website’s objectives. And this is part of the designing for The Web process.