A few years ago there was no such thing as a ‘UX specialist’, but now it has earned itself a formal job title and UX is a recognised step in all digital projects.

The concept of User Experience can mean different things to different people, so we rounded up three of our chooks and picked their brains. In the pen was a UX designer (UXD), a digital planner (DP) and a creative director (CD). Here’s an overview of their discussion:

UX doesn’t stop and start at the website.

DP: Although UX is typically viewed in the context of digital, offline components also play an important role in creating a great, all encompassing user experience.

UXD: UX is not just about ‘the during’ - when the user is interacting with your particular product or service - the before and after are just as important. Anything that could colour a user’s feeling about your brand before they’ve engaged with you at that time, then any other brand contact they have with you thereafter.

CD: UX is about developing a better overall brand experience for consumers, however not all offline experiences can work online. It is vital to think about UX holistically as a campaign rather than individual elements.

Great UX makes the user feel clever — or goes completely unnoticed.

UXD: As the general population becomes increasingly tech savvy, digital touchpoints need to be one step ahead. A good user experience shouldn’t make you think. A great user experience goes completely unnoticed in some cases. When UX works it becomes a natural extension of me as a person.

When UX works it becomes a natural extension of me as a person.

DP: UX is all about making an experience as natural as possible. A great example of this is Band-Aid’s ‘Magic Vision’ AR application. Easing the pain of a child with a hurt finger or grazed knee typically involves applying a bandage followed by a healthy dose of distraction. Band-Aid has always had the first half of that course of treatment covered, so they built on that and created an experience to provide the distraction element.

User needs trump brand prerogatives.

CD: Brand experiences should add to user’s life in some sense, perhaps by making it easier to perform a task or simply by providing genuine entertainment. There needs to be a clear value proposition.

DP: The focus in UX needs to be about the user and their experience, not the brand and its corporate messages.

UXD: There should never be a conflict between what a user wants to do and what the brand wants a user to do.

In conclusion

It seems the overriding opinion is that, although strongly associated with digital things, user experience pervades every aspect of a person’s interaction with a brand. UX is important not just on a website, but for every touchpoint between brands and their audience.

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