What is User Experience? - Definition & Design

Instructor: Lucinda Stanley

Lucinda has taught business and information technology and has a PhD in Education.

In this lesson you will learn what user experience is, what factors create a good user experience, and some strategies to create a great user experience in the world of computers.

User Experience Defined

How do you feel about customer service? You expect to complete a transaction with a business with as little discomfort as possible, correct? You want to enter a store and be able to find what you are looking for by looking at the signs, and you expect to be able to find someone to help you without too much fuss. You think you should be able to find a cash register to pay for your items and have the transaction go smoothly so you can get out of there and go about the business of living.

If all of that happens, you might to tell your friends, 'Hey, you need to check out Store X! They were so easy to deal with.' You had a good experience, so you want to share that with your friends. You also might not even notice how easy the store was to navigate because you just expect stores to work in that way.

User Experience (UX)
User Experience (UX)

User experience is a person's overall experience interacting with a product and achieving something, like getting information needed. Expectations of good customer service and a great experience aren't just for face-to-face interactions! They are also a part of using a computer, website, or application both online and offline. In the environment of computer users, user experience (UX), is the interaction between you, the user, and the computer or the program. As a matter of fact, human computer interaction even has its own acronym: HCI.

What Is the User Looking For?

We understand that in a face-to-face environment we expect to see signs, have access to help when we need it, and to have a trouble-free interaction. In the computer environment, we expect to have usability or utility, meaning that the web page or program will provide the features that we need. Here are the basic things we are looking for in computer interactions:

  • Easy to Learn: We want to access a web page or a program and use it right away. The interaction should be somewhat intuitive.
  • Efficient to Use: We want to be able to quickly go to exactly the information we need at that moment.
  • Memorable: We want to easily remember how to do things within the web page or program.
  • Error-Free: We expect that our interactions will be handled efficiently and with no errors. The first time we encounter an error, we are likely to move on.
  • Satisfaction/Pleasant: Ultimately, we want our experience to be pleasant, to make us feel that we have accomplished something. UX is all about how the user feels at the end of the interaction.

Designing a Great User Experience

Who is the user?
Who is the User?

What needs to be considered when designing a web page or a program in terms of user experience? What if you have to design an HCI and want the best possible UX? You would need to use what is known as a user centered design, meaning you consider the users' needs, as well as their preferences, abilities, and limitations.

Because we don't always know exactly what a user's abilities are, it is important that the design be kept consistent and simple. Here are some design strategies that you can use to create a great user experience:

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