What is UX/User Experience Anyway?

Editor’s note: This blog is written by Nicole Nelson, Program Chair of the Interactive Media and Graphic Design program at the Richfield campus. The event referred to was held on June 4, 2012.

Last Monday night I find out about a particular event, which is part of a series titled Hello World: UX and is put on by AIGA and The Nerdery. I went with Minnesota School of Business grad Amanda Schwandt, who loves interactive design and was energized by this presentation.  The four talented UX gurus discussed how to create a great user experience. According to one of the speakers, Fred Beecher, User Experience or UX is a business strategy. I agree.

What I took away from this discussion was this: Yes, it’s about the design and whether it functions. But, it’s also about the process of analysis, synthesis, and hypothesis. If any part of the process fails, the system fails, the goals aren’t met, and the company loses business. Take for example a website that you frequent. Why do you keep going back? You may think it’s simply because you like the product, but it’s more than that. If a web page doesn’t lead you to the appropriate next step, you may get frustrated and leave. Leaving could potentially mean that site loses your business. So underneath it all, that site needs a really great business strategy, a user experience that requires a ton of research to figure out exactly who you, the user, are. After all, if the user doesn’t use, the business fails.