I’m currently looking for a job (more on why I give up self employment in another article soon). Being a generalist with an incredible broad set of skills, I focus on UX and Product Design roles, as that matches my main strengths.
In my interviews I’m often asked what UX (User Experience) is for me, and when I say “nearly everything”, the interviewer is baffled sometimes, as they expect something like an easy to understand UI or similar answers. But UX isn’t only affected by the user interface, or other parts of the product the user uses. It’s the whole product and even more. Let me elaborate.
It starts with the branding. The apple on my laptop shows me its orientation even when closed. The four squares of the microsoft logo wouldn’t. On the other hand, if your product is a ball, a totally symmetrical logo would be best choice. For cars it should also work in the rear view mirrors of other drivers. These are just a few examples of how even the logo, or the style and optics, can facilitate or hinder your experience with the product (and there is also the Aesthetic-Usability Effect).
Of course the main user experience lies in the usage. But even there it is not only the look of the interface, the layout of its elements, or other obvious things like these. The underlying tech can deeply influence your experience with the product. For e.g. banking software it must feel stable, reliable, safe. But there are also products where it has to be fast in the first place, or where the used tech stack makes it easy for the developers to roll out new features frequently.
Sometimes it is even not so much the product itself, but the services the user can additionally use for it. My software Stadium Brain, that controls the scoreboards in football stadiums, does its main job pretty good. At least my customers are very pleased, especially those, that use its features to the maximum, like the FC St. Pauli. But while clubs like St. Pauli also honour their guests/opponents enough to add pictures for each player, play their hymn and more, others don’t want to do any content management at all. So it doesn’t matter how streamlined my GUI is and how easy it makes every customisation. My competitors win immediately, as soon as they can offer the content management part as a service.
As you can see, everything which determines your product, influences the experience one has with it.
At the end of the day, this is what drives my fascination for user experience, because you constantly have to think outside of the box, even sometimes far outside your own domain, to really give your users the best experience with your product.