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Digital Alchemy. Human Experiences.

It’s a common misconception that User Interfaces are the same as User Experiences – too often we see it called UX/UI when people in the industry know that the user interface is merely a part of the overall user experience. 

When we think about the user’s experience, it should go beyond what is experienced online and should transcend into the service your company gives and the feelings your products evoke.

“It’s not enough that we build products that function, that are understandable and usable, we also need to build products that bring joy and excitement, pleasure and fun, and yes, beauty to people’s lives.” – Don Norman, Co-founder of Nielsen Norman Group.

Donald Norman, arguably one of the founders of the concept of user experience, viewed it as a way of describing a complete system the simple user interface which incorporates emotion, physical interaction, graphics, and the user manual. If we’re going to talk seriously about user experience, In my opinion, great user experience is a marriage between the delight of the user with your core business objectives. When we first engage with our clients around their user experience needs, we often ask them about their mission because the marriage of the mission to the client’s delight often results in profound success.

This leads us onto the controversial statement that user experience design isn’t just about the way things look – it’s about how things work and how they make you feel.

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” – Steve Jobs.

If we think of a user experience as an iceberg, the visual design is merely the tip of something far deeper and wider which encompasses strategy based on business objectives, the functioning of the digital platform including the information architecture and then the actual design.

User Experience designers think conceptually about aspects like user stories, personas (including research around them) and usability testing whilst User Interface designers implement those concepts by incorporating the brand, the logo, the colour scheme, and associated visuals to make something that works well and looks on brand.

If we consider that user experience goes beyond the way things look, then we need to incorporate more internal and external people into the process from researchers to business strategists to the COO and finally to the users or customers themselves.

Whilst a lot of companies invest in UX later on in their development, upfront investment can save up to 10x and achieve conversion rates of up to 400% according to this report by Forrester. Great user experience has so many knock-on effects, from increasing your retention rates, to cross-selling and the reduction of risk by having more customers feel like you’re a trustworthy player.

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