What is UX?

Written by: Holly Morse, Director of Design, All Things Media

"User experience? That's wire framing, right?" Well, wire framing is a part of the UX process, but not the whole story.

User experience (often seen abbreviated as UX) is how a person connects with a product, service, or system. For our projects, this usually means how our clients and their end users feel interacting with our websites, apps, games, or virtual reality experiences.

Good UX asks the questions: who, what, why, and how, about the client's product. We focus on having a deep understanding of who the users are, what they need, what they value, and their abilities.

Here at ATM, everyone contributes to user experience.

Our New Business and Strategy team meet with the client to define the vision and goals for the project. Once defined, they use UX tools, such as field research and personas, to gain further insight on what the end users truly need. From that, they develop the strategy and over arching features for the product.

Armed with that information, our Account Management and Project Management teams further break down particular features of the product. They work to advise the client on product direction and make recommendations for the best end-user experience. Project Management documents and outlines all the information for the design and programming teams.

Here's where we start getting visual. As designers, we ask a lot of questions about the product. Is this the best or quickest way to navigate? Is there a better way to display information? How can we improve user interaction? To find answers, we use UX tools such as information architecture, wire framing, interface design, visual design, and layout. We work with our 3D, Video, and Animation teams to create immersive experiences that create a wow-factor and lasting impact on the end-user.

To make sure we're on the right track, we work with the Programming team to develop prototypes and conduct usability testing to make sure we're keeping the end-user in mind at all times. Programming weighs in on how to best streamline the product architecture and makes performance and hardware recommendations.

Throughout it all, our QA team is reviewing the product and making sure that no matter the device or browser, everything is working properly. A bug-free product is crucial to a good user experience.

I think one of my favorite quotes from Liz Danzico sums it up best. "User experience design isn't a check box, you don't do it and then move on. It needs to be integrated in everything you do."