UX Key Terms And Phrases Explained

Understanding the basic concepts and terms used in User Experience Design

In today’s fast-past, customer centric world, chances are you’ve encountered user experience (known as UX for short). You just might not necessarily know it.

The term user experience actually goes hand in hand with design. It encompasses a whole host of characteristics and all must work in harmony together, in order to create the entirety of the experience.

There is a great deal to consider when looking at the user experience as a whole and with it, come some fundamental terms and phrase, which are crucial to understand. So, what are the key terms you need to know about, in order to get your head around this understandably, confusing analogy?

Understand the meaning of the term UX itself

Don Norman was the guy who first coined such a term and he surmises that the user experience itself “encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services and its products.”

This may include the operation of products, the experience of not just using it, but buying it for the first time and upgrading to new product versions.

Look at how UX is broken down

According to Peter Morville, a design and information architect, who has been working in this exact field since 1994, he believes there to be 7 factors that influence user experience. So, what exactly are these?

Useful- Would a product with seemingly no use be valued in the market? Odds are, probably not.

Usable- Two words. Is the product effective and efficient? For something to be considered usable, there two words are considered crucial.

Findable- In the age of all things digital, products and their contents need to be found easily and quickly.

Credible- Users must be able to both believe and trust what you’re selling.

Desirable- Enter branding, imagery and identity, to name but a few. These are the tools necessary for the evocation of emotion and appreciation.

Accessible- Its function is to be accessible to a whole range of users, such as those who are vision, learning and motion impaired.

Valuable- And, finally, is the product itself valuable? Hopefully, yes.

Don’t confuse ‘user’ with ‘customer’

In a world where user experience is of the utmost importance for brands, it’s important not to confuse this directly with customer experience. User experience focuses on the end user whilst the customer? Well that could just about be anyone.

What is the difference between user experience and user interface?

These two important phrases often get lumped together when it comes to defining user experience and it’s easy to see why, as from an outside perspective, the two could seem the same. But it’s important to understand what makes them different.

See the user interface (UI) as the aesthetics and operation of a product, such as the website design for a company – navigation and all. Whilst the UX will take the design and run with it, directly to the user. UX sees how this product design sits with its users and is based on the understanding of the 7 main factors as mentioned above.

UX is definitely on the rise with many companies and today, UX designers are taking on more product focused roles. From copywriters to interaction designers – the list goes on. The user experience is an absolute must when it comes to the overall success of a product, and a company.

Some key terms to keep in mind –

Experience/usability map – A map of a web page showing what users interact with on a page and where they click.

A/B testing – Carrying out user tests with different versions of a web page and different audiences. Seeing which version is more successful.

User journey – The path a user takes when navigating through a website.

Wireframe – A layout of a website page showing which interface features will exist on core pages.

Interactive design – Interaction design focuses on creating engaging interfaces with well thought-out behaviours. Understanding how users and technology communicate with each other is fundamental to this field. With this understanding, you can anticipate how someone might interact with the system, fix problems early, as well as invent new ways of doing things. Usability.gov

Conversion rate – The percentage of visitors that convert on a website/page. A.g. buy something, sign up etc.

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