What is user experience?
And why does it matter?

Icon of two overlapping faces to illustrate empathy

UX is about empathy

Empathy is the tool that enables us to build products that empower a user to easily complete a task.

User experience, or UX, design is a way of improving anything you create by thinking about human needs and limitations. It’s the sum of every interaction a person has with our company, our services and our products — the foundation our brand. It’s about knowing who those people are, what their goals are, and how they want to achieve them.

For example, imagine you’ve recently flown to Chicago. The way you remember your flight is shaped by many things (directions at the check-in kiosk made sense, seat was comfortable, smooth landing, reached destination on time) — that's your user experience.

Likewise, users of UNOS digital products have a user experience shaped at every touchpoint — buttons, error messages, language, and data presentation. For this reason, we strive to use the best usability principles when building apps and pages, to solve user tasks, goals, and frustrations — leading to higher user satisfaction, and excellent user experience.

Empathy helps us appreciate the needs of the people we’re designing for. Empathy helps us understand users’ goals and the difficulties they have achieving them. In user-centered design, we learn not just what users want to accomplish, but also why and how.

When we build with users in mind, we create more usable products.

Read more about user personas, user journeys, and user testing — the tools that enable us to translate empathy into user-centered digital solutions.

Icon of journey path

User experience ≠ user interface

People often confuse user experience with user interface, or UI. But they’re not the same! UI is focused on the visual interface of a product. Is the user interface intuitive? Are the buttons and commands easy to find and large enough to click? Can you read the text? Is there enough contrast? And, finally, does the user interface inspire curiosity or delight?

Difference between user interface and user experience

controls of airplane cockpit

Photo by Leonel Fernandez, Unsplash

The controls of a cockpit = user interface

view of sky from airplane window

Photo by Andrew Neel, Unsplash

How I describe or feel during a flight = user experience

icon of mountains with flag

Best practices — or usability principles — develop out of a deep understanding of human needs and limitations.

Good user experience design is invisible

When things are broken, we notice. When things work smoothly and seamlessly, we often don't. When digital products are easy to use — because of good UX design — the work of UX design becomes practically invisible. But, the delightful overall experience with a product or service leaves users with a positive feeling about a company and its brand.

Next up