UX Explained

User Experience: Meaning, theories, testing, and optimization

Thinking about user experience involves understanding users’ needs, wants, capabilities, and limitations. It also encompasses the goals of your project, for example buying a product on your website. In this article, we have put together a brief overview to get started with user experience.

What is User Experience?

We define user experience as the following:

  • General description: The experience that a user has when interacting with a product or service.
  • UX designers: The process of designing a product or service that is useful and enjoyable to interact with.
  • For psychologist: A user’s perceptions, thoughts, emotions, expectations, and behaviors.

Exposure forces user experience

People tend to develop a liking or dislike for things merely because they are familiar with them, this effect is called the mere-exposure effect. Therefore, through advertising, the target audience will eventually like or dislike your brand.

What are the options to test user experience?

There are different ways to measure people’s experiences to understand their feelings. Here are a few examples:

  • Surveys: Ask people to answer questions or talk with them to know what they think.
  • User Testing: Observe people while they use a product, service, or website to check whether it’s easy to operate.
  • Analytics: Use tools to analyze data and see patterns or trends that can help you understand how people interact with something. For example, dashboards are often used in analytics.
  • A/B Testing: Compare two versions of something. For example, It can involve testing different designs, colours, layouts, and text to determine what works better. Sometimes, it can even include testing more than two versions, like A/B/C/D/E testing.
  • Interviews: Gather information from individuals by asking them questions about their experience.

10 UX theories to remember

Some common psychological effects lie in the core of user experience for humans. Besides the nature-nurture debate of these theories, you can have a better user experience if you obey them.

Following are a few user experience theories:

  1. Aesthetic-Usability: Users experience a better-looking design as more usable.
  2. Decision-Complexity: The time it takes to make a decision increases with the number and complexity of choices.
  3. Common Region: Items within a border are perceived as a group and have a common characteristic.
  4. Proximity: Objects that are near, or proximate to each other, tend to be grouped together.
  5. Memory of first and last items: Users have a propensity to best remember the first and last items in a series.
  6. Certain amount of complexity: Any system there is a certain amount of complexity which cannot be reduced.
  7. Peak-End: People judge an experience largely based on how they felt at its peak and at its end, rather than the total sum or average of every moment of the experience.
  8. Connectedness elements: Elements that are connected are perceived as more related than elements with no connection.
  9. Uncompleted and memory: People remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed
  10. Seven items in working memory: The average person can only keep 7 (plus or minus 2) items in their working memory.

There are many theories, and it is often difficult to remember them. Plus, they may impact each other. Testing is, therefore, easier than theorizing about a user experience.

What is a good user experience?

In simple terms, a good user experience ensures that interactions are positive and valuable for the user. Because you will always compare user experience to other user experiences, good user experience cares about comparing.

For example, the user experience of a remote control has significantly increased since the original control with a few buttons. Compared to walking to your TV station, any remote that works is still better than not having a remote.

Characteristics of good user experience

In essence, good user experience is about giving the user a valuable experience. Increasing value should represent the ultimate goal.

To better understand how to give value to a user you can follow the UX honeycomb of Peter Morville. This theory states that value is the culmination of the factors: useful, usable, findable, credible, accessible, and desirable. Below a short description of each of these factors.

  1. Useful: A useful product addresses the needs and goals of the users, ensuring that it serves a practical purpose. Providing relevant and purposeful features enhances the overall value of the user experience.
  2. Desirable: Desirability is cultivated through visually appealing design, branding, and emotional engagement. A product that evokes positive emotions and aligns with user preferences enhances its perceived value.
  3. Accessible: Accessibility ensures that the product is usable by individuals with varying abilities. Designing inclusively not only expands the user base but also adds value by making the product available to a diverse audience.
  4. Credible: Credibility is vital for user trust. A product that delivers on its promises, provides accurate information, and maintains transparency establishes credibility, contributing significantly to the perceived value.
  5. Findable: Find-ability ensures that users can easily locate the information or features they seek within the product. A well-organized and navigable structure contributes to user satisfaction and the perceived value of the product.
  6. Usable: High usability ensures that users can interact with the product effectively and efficiently, enabling them to achieve their objectives without unnecessary complications. A seamless and user-friendly interface adds substantial value.

Related topics of user experience

User Interface (UI)

UX is short for “user experience,” while UI stands for “user interface.” Both terms are used to describe the way humans interact with computers. UX designers focus on creating a positive and enjoyable user experience, while UI designers focus on the visual design of the user interface. Both UX and UI are important for creating great user’s experience and successful products.

While UI is an important part of the user experience, it is only one piece of the puzzle. A UX designer also focuses on other areas, such as information architecture, customer journey mapping, and user research. Good UX design goes beyond making a product look good. It should also make the product easy to use and enjoyable to interact with. A well-designed UX can make the difference between a successful product and one that fails.

Customer experience

Customer experience (CX) is the overall experience that a customer has with a company, from the first time they interact with the company to the last. User experience (UX), on the other hand, is the specific experience that a user has with a product, system, or service. While customer experience is about the overall relationship between a customer and a company, user experience is about the specific interactions between a user and a product.


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