Few years back when mobile phones were non-existent, people were relying on land-lines for their communications. When cell phones appeared, they appeared as a solution and offered people cord-less freedom of communication anywhere they wanted. Thus cell phones were a solution and offered users a freedom which didn’t exist before.
However when iphones appeared, cell phones were already there in the market. That means there was no apparent problem of which iphones were a solution. When people where not waiting for them to come and solve any of existing problems, why are they so popular and desireable in the users? Fact is that iphone is not a solution, it is an experience as well. An experience which didn’t exist before and this is what is selling.
As a human, we want to be cared, loved and treated well. This human need is bases of 100s of businesses to exist out there. Think why do we go and pay several times more in 5stars hotel when we can get the same food in 3stars or other hotels around the corner? Why are you prepared to pay more for the same meal service? You don’t eat more there, you don’t eat better (some may argue though) but you still agree to pay more. What is that you are paying more for? What idea justifies its higher price in your head? What is that you are going after? Answer to all these questions is “User Experience”. It is the User Experience (UX) which is being sold to you.
What does that mean; are ordinary cell phones or hotels around the corner without a user experience? User Experience exists in every solution and every product we use. Sometime user-experience is rather bad and frustrating. What happens when hotels take lot of time to get your order ready? They still serve you the same meal but they ruin user experience – leaving a bad memory in your head. That is why you don't visit them again even their food may still be good. When user experience turns bad or considerably pleasent, we become aware of it but when it is average, it stays there but becomes un-noticeable. An average user experience doesn't sell, because we cannot feel it.
Idea of User Experience Design (UX Design) will become clear if we identify a problem and human’s approach towards its solution. The solution which addresses our problem is acceptable but the solution which gives us sense of comfort, satisfaction and completion becomes desirable. Thus if we try to define design with user experience in mind, it would become something like:
Designing is a problem solving activity which fulfills stated requirements and delivers satisfaction.
For a website, User Experience is a factor of 10s of things done right. Just like improved SEO rating which is result of 10s fo things done right. For an improved user experience, website has to have
Satisfying website content (Information Design)
Simple and easy to use navigation (Navigation Design)
Appealing layout (Visual Design)
Thus it’s a team job and requires improvements at multiple levels. It is also important to understand that high user experience delivered from one aspect of the business and not supported by the others is meaningless. For example if business website is optimized to deliver high user experience and customer service fails to satisfy customers on the phone, over-all user experience would remain low. Similarly high user experience must be reflected by the products as well as services to build a complete picture of joyful user experience.