User experience (abbreviated as UX) is how a person feels when interfacing with a system. The system could be a website, a web application or desktop software and, in modern contexts, is generally denoted by some form of human-computer interaction (HCI).
Those who work on UX (called UX designers) study and evaluate how users feel about a system, looking at such things as ease of use, perception of the value of the system, utility, efficiency in performing tasks and so forth.
In an industry devoted to the people who use different products, services, and applications, research is very important. It is also important to ask questions, take notes, and learn everything about the target audience, and then iteratively test the work throughout the design process.
UX research—or as it’s sometimes called, design research—serves many purposes throughout the design process. It helps to identify and prove or disprove assumptions, find commonalities across target audience members, and recognize their needs, goals, and mental models. Overall, research informs our work, improves our understanding, and make the work better.
Compared to many other disciplines, particularly Web-based systems, UX is relatively new. The term “user experience” was coined by Dr. Donald Norman, a cognitive science researcher who was also the first to describe the importance of user-centered design (the notion that design decisions should be based on the needs and wants of users). Nowadays, with so much emphasis on user-centered design, describing and justifying the importance of designing and enhancing the user experience seems almost unnecessary.
User experience design won’t work in every situation for every user because, as human beings are all different. What works for one person might have the opposite effect on another. The best to do is design for specific experiences and promote certain behaviors, but can’t manufacture, impose or predict the actual experience itself.