CX 101: What is UX?

CX 101: What is UX?

CX 101: What is UX? 2560 1945 Diana Sonis

CX. DX. EX. UX. The business world is awash with Xs, and we’re not even counting the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. These Xs are all about experience: Customer Experience, Digital Experience, Employee Experience, and User Experience. There are even some other Xs in the mix. 

No two Experience areas are as commonly confused as CX and UX. In the first article of this series, we discussed what CX is. In this article, we’ll explore UX.

What UX is

Let’s kick things off by revisiting UX’s full name: User Experience. UX professionals look for ways to improve how people experience a product or solution. UX is often focused on digital experiences, such as how shoppers interact with a store’s website or mobile app. However, UX isn’t limited to the digital world; it’s part of the larger field of industrial design, which examines how people use physical objects. There’s also a digital-physical blending going on, such as when you use physical buttons to operate a digital screen.

UX teams often have researchers, information designers, writers, engineers/developers, visual designers, and analysts who leverage their collective skills to understand users’ needs. Their process usually looks something like this:

  • Identify a problem (or improvement opportunity).
  • Research what needs the user is trying to meet.
  • Understand the context of the user’s actions – e.g. when they’re doing this, why, what’s happening around them, their emotional state, etc.
  • Brainstorm ways to meet this need.
  • Prototype and test a few potential solutions.
  • Iterate on these prototypes and tests until a solution is achieved.

Like CX, UX is a very human-focused field. It combines technology and psychology, but it also keeps an eye on feasibility and business goals.

What UX isn’t

Because UX is often associated with digital experiences, some people think that UX is a fancy term for graphic design. Visual design is part of UX, but it doesn’t come into play until later in the prototyping phase. And while graphic designers are usually focused on what the business wants to convey, a UX designer is thinking about what the user wants, needs, and expects from the design. UX teams are expected to ensure that the experiences they create are user-friendly and accessible for everyone – especially those with different physical, visual, cognitive, motor, and auditory abilities.

There are also some superficial similarities between marketing and UX – especially in customer research. However, their objectives are quite different: Marketers want to understand and connect with customers to ultimately drive sales, while UXers want to understand customers to improve products and (here’s the word again) experiences. However, both teams can work together to share insights.

UX and CX

So, UX is concerned with making users’ (often digital) interactions better and meeting users’ needs. Its goal is to improve the company’s product or service

CX is concerned with making a better customer experience and meeting customers’ needs. Its goal is to improve the company’s processes, efficiency, and profitability

Seems very similar, doesn’t it? What’s the difference between CX and UX? Do companies really need both? We’ll answer those questions in the next article.

About the author

Diana Sonis

Diana is a passionate believer in holistic, 360 strategy and design, with extensive expertise in UX Design, CX Design, Service Design, and the Design Thinking methodology.

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