User experience (UX) design is the process of creating products that provide meaningful and personally relevant experiences. This involves the careful design of both a product’s usability and the pleasure consumers will derive from using it. It is also concerned with the entire process of acquiring and integrating the product, including aspects of branding, design, usability, and function.
Products that provide great user experience (e.g., the iPhone) are thus designed not only with the product’s consumption or use in mind but also the entire process of acquiring, owning, and even troubleshooting it.
An important concept in UX design is the process by which users form experiences. When first encountering a product, a user forms a momentary impression—which evolves over time, typically as the product is used throughout a period. In this process, the user’s perception, action, motivation, and cognition integrate to form a memorable and coherent story: called “the user experience.” This process elicits emotional responses, which largely determine whether the experience will be considered positive or negative.
UX designers, or designers who are aware of the process of experience formation, seek to create and shape the factors influencing the process deliberately. To do this, a UX designer will consider the Why, What, and How of product use. The Why involves the users’ motivations for adopting a product, whether they relate to a task they wish to perform with it, or to values and views associated with the ownership and use of the product. The What addresses the things people can do with a product—its functionality. Finally, the Howrelates to the design of functionality in an accessible and aesthetically pleasant way. UX design starts from the Why, then determines the What and finally the How, in order to create products that users can form meaningful experiences with.
Orignally found at: www.interaction-design.org