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What is UX? A basic guide to user experience

User experience (UX) is something that’s both simple and impossible to define. On the one hand it literally refers to how a user experiences something and how you curate that experience, but on the other hand it can take on dozens of different definitions. It’s a concept used throughout countless industries and it’s one that, if mastered, could unlock your product or service to a much wider and more receptive audience. 

What is UX?

At its core, UX defines the ergonomics of an interaction between a human being and a system and how the individual perceives and responds to that system. By that logic, of course, it’s a practice that centres around a deep understanding of your users – what do they need and value, and what are their abilities and limitations? It also takes into account the goals and objectives of your brand and how best to get that across to your audience. It’s in the best interests of any business, therefore, to always seek to improve the quality of UX.

What influences UX?

There are several factors that influence how a user experiences what you’re providing them.

Usefulness – Does your content fulfil a need for your target audience?

Usability – Is it easy to use and are there any barriers making it more difficult to use that you could remove?

Desirability – This is where your image, branding and other design elements come into play. How desirable is your content? Is it naturally going to evoke emotion in your users and does it make them want to engage with your brand?

Accessibility – Is your content accessible to everyone? This includes not only people of all ages and level of computer literacy, but those with disabilities too.

Credibility – How credible are you as a source? Does your UX reflect an air of authority and will it help users to trust and believe what you tell them?

Findability–- How easy is it for users to find and navigate your content both on and off-site?

User experience design

Individuals who work on UX are typically referred to as UX designers and there is a definite art to designing a UX. A UX designer needs to be able to research user data and examine it objectively to help them understand what it is that users are most attracted to. They also need a solid understanding of visual design and how various shapes, colours and layouts affect people’s emotions. And they need to be in tune with how people actually use products, platforms and systems. In essence, a UX designer needs to be a jack of all trades who also has an innate understanding of people.

Why is UX important?

UX is something that has a knock-on effect on every aspect of a business’s systems and how it presents itself to the public. It impacts everything from marketing and design to performance. If there is an aspect of your business that interfaces with the public in any way,  then UX needs to be a consideration. It’s about finding that human factor and designing every facet of your business with a user-centric approach. 

If you design something that’s hard to use, hard to see and that leaves users unsure of where to go next, then your UX has failed and you are likely to lose custom. If, however, you can create an interface that works as users expect it to and goes above and beyond their needs, you will cultivate a loyal customer base and expand your business as a result. It’s about thinking customer-first every time and all the time.

We can help

If you’re interested in learning more about user experience and how it relates to company spending then get in touch with our financial experts today. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

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