User Focus 2014: Debrief

I attended the one-day User Focus 2014 event last week to get the latest and greatest on the state of the user experience (UX) domain. It blows my mind that there is whole group of professionals whose sole mission in life is to make life better for me by making my experience with various devices and services awesomer. And if you haven’t gotten with the UX program yet or don’t believe it’s important, you might want to reconsider.
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Why UX Matters

I started my IT career in the early days of the World Wide Web. I built stuff that allowed users to do things they couldn’t do before. The focus was on the function and not so much on the form. Did it work? Yes? Great. Nobody really cared if it looked like something only a developer could love. And then people did start caring. With the increase in mobile and smart phone use and the “Rise of the App”, people started caring even more. They cared a lot, in fact.

And so user experience (UX) rose to prominence.

I know enough about UX to be dangerous (a nice card sort exercise, anyone?). For example, I know that UX is not the same thing as UI and it’s not the same thing as usability (thanks for the coaching, Norm Sun). There are some good resources out there about what UX is, including definitions of UX from various sources.

Beyond what UX is and isn’t, I also know that UX really matters. Anything that has an ISO spec has to be important, right? Just kidding. A lot of people have provided commentary on the importance of UX, like herehere, and here. Here’s my take on why UX matters, boiled down to three big reasons.
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