At DStv, we’re all about spreading the love, which is why we’ve been sharing interesting links to some really great content in previous posts. We decided to also share a bit about the tricks of the trade when it comes to being tech-savvy. You know, the insider information? This week, we bring you a wealth of info when it comes to user experience (UX), what it is, the importance of it and how you can apply it to what you do online.

UX explained – A basic intro

Essentially, user experience is how a person feels when they’re using a system. By system, I mean a website, a web application or desktop software. People that study UX look at how user feels about the system as well its practical aspects. It’s their job to look at things such as:

• Ease of use
• Perception of value of the system
• Utility
• Efficiency in performing tasks
What one needs to keep in mind is that UX is subjective as it centres on an individual’s feelings and thoughts. Not only that, but UX is also very dynamic in nature as it has to adapt as circumstances change. (Think of what this website may have looked like ten years ago!).

How does it differ from usability?

This is often a confusing one, as these two terms seem to have become synonymous – but there is a clear distinction. Let me explain; UX addresses how a user feels when using a system, while usability is more focused on the user-friendliness and efficacy of the actual interface. Usability is a major part of UX and plays a big role in experiences that are effective and pleasant (we hope!), but then human factors, science, psychology, information architecture and user-centred design principles also play major roles.

What situations benefit from UX?

Naturally, the more complex the system, the more involved the planning and architecture will have to be. To invest a full-blown multi-member UX study for a simple static website would be overkill, while the likes of multi-faceted websites, interaction-rich Web applications and e-commerce sites stand to benefit a lot.

One needs to keep in mind that you can’t determine the effectiveness of UX design just through stats (like page views, bounce rates and conversion rates). Yes, we can make assumptions and we can ask users for anecdotal evidence, but we can’t install an app (at least not yet) that automatically records UX stats directly.

It’s not just about the tech

After all – the primary objective of UX is to help people, not to make some fancy technology. Think of it this way; just like a painter uses paint to communicate concepts and emotion, UX designers use technology to help people achieve their goals online. If you’re interested in finding out more about the bits and pieces our team has been reading latelyget in touch with us to chat.

If you would like to be involved in our ongoing UX testing here at DStv Online, why not sign up and be part of creative process.

To read more about UX and Usability and how it is shaping technology today, take a gander at the following sites:

http://www.useit.com/

http://www.asktog.com/

http://www.uxbooth.com/blog/its-about-people-not-devices/

http://52weeksofux.com/tagged/week_1

and finally examples of bad UX