SO, WHAT'S UX?
UX, or User Experience is best summed up as:
- How easy is a product to learn
- How easy is it to use
- The value a user derives from the interaction
Most people with even a passing familiarity with UX understand #1 and #2, but it's #3 that is the most important. After all, a game for children is easy to learn and easy to use, but how much value do you get from playing by yourself?
Almost without except, high value interaction = good UX.
How much value do your users get from your website, application or product? It can be a little or a lot, but UX Research is the best way to know for sure.
ANOTHER WAY TO THINK ABOUT IT...
User Experience is a bridge between what you want your users to do and the way they're most willing (or most likely) to do it. As a product owner, there's something you want your users to do, likely many things. You want them to order something, sign up for something, call you, complete tasks faster, reduce errors, fix problems without calling you and many more.
Users will always choose the path of least resistance towards THEIR goals. No matter how something is intended, if users see the opportunity to get where they want to go, they'll take it.
User Experience studies your target audience, learns how they think and crafts solutions that align your goals with your audience.
UX, like development, is a process. Good results are an outcome of a good plan.
The great thing about UX is that it is far more flexible than most development methodologies and as a UX professional, picking and choosing which techniques best fit the current project is easy to do.
UX can be scaled down for good, quick results or ramped up for 'knock your socks off' great results. It all depends on your situation.
No matter who you work with in UX, make sure they can explain their methodology. "Winging it," is not an approved UX research method.
UX was born for Agile. While it may take a sprint or two to get the hang of it, the results are spectacular.
Both are iterative processes which seek to eliminate errors by keeping in constant contact with the customer and end-users. The key difference is while Agile maintains the flexibility to pivot as necessary to meet evolving requirements, UX gets out in front development and confirms the most efficient design and interaction fueling even faster development times.
The UX team completes the UX methodology and hands off actionable requirements, tested designs and the data to back all of them up.
The Development team and begin right away and keep going.
No more production stoppage meetings about whether the button should be green or read, a button or slider. The UX team has data to back up each decision, giving the Monday Morning Quarterback nothing much to do.