Even after all of the advances in web technologies, a website’s success still hinges on just one thing: how users interact with it. “Does this website give me value? Is it easy to use? Do I know where to go to get what I want? Am I engaged? Is it pleasant to use?” Whether users are aware of it or not, these are the questions that run through visitors' minds as they experience your site and decide whether or not they will return. User experience design is all about striving to make them answer “Yes” to all of those questions.
User experience (abbreviated as UX) is how a person feels when interfacing with a system. The system could be a website, a web application or desktop software. There are a number of things that go into the user experience of a website, like usability, design, system performance, marketing and other human factors. All of these combine within the context of a website interaction, ultimately adding to the value (or lack there of) of your website.
We could simply say, “It’s important because it deals with our users’ needs — enough said, right?” Everyone would probably be satisfied with that. But the truth is, it wasn’t always this way. Before we understood the value of user-centered design, we made these decisions based on just two things: what we thought was awesome and what the client wanted to see. This decade however has experienced many changes in the Web. Websites have become so complex and feature-rich that, to be effective, they must go above and beyond.
Users have been accessing websites through mobile devices, a multitude of browsers as well as different types of Internet connections. We’ve also become aware of the importance of accessibility — not only for those with special requirements, but for those who don’t have broadband connections or who have older mobile devices and so forth.
With this vast array of changes, the websites that have consistently stood out from the crowd were the ones that were enjoyable to use and address the user’s needs easily. The driving factor of how we build websites today has become the experience we want to give the people who will use our sites.