What is User Experience and Why is it Important?
User experience actually has a formal definition (ISO 9241-210), but it boils down to how people respond to what they experience. This means that it includes both your system, and how people react to it. And since you can't directly control anyone's reaction, it is all the more important to consciously create whatever you are putting in front of them.
Every aspect of your product or system affects the user experience – whether button placement, font size or colors used. This is both daunting and encouraging. It means that clever design and fine-tuning gives you the power you need to positively impress your customers.
How we see and remember the world
People experience their environment emotionally, and unfortunately, negative emotions are "stickier". But positive word of mouth is also very important. And to generate it, you need to provide an exceptional experience.
Positive emotions also build brand loyalty. Every customer represents a CLV (Customer Lifetime Value), and the best way to unlock this value for your company is by providing an exceptional experience.
Take control of your message in two steps
You set the tone for your customer's experience. If you don't decide what that tone is, your customer will.
The first step is deciding what your ideal user experience should be. If you don't have a goal in mind, you won't achieve it. Know your audience!
The second step is gathering feedback. Your users are always right, so don't be afraid to experiment and adapt if they aren't reacting as you'd like. Keep doing this forever.
It's important to talk to customers. But it is more important to listen. Use what customers say to improve their experience. Some people are looking for a rollercoaster ride -- in which case you want to make it as exciting as possible. But landing an airplane like a rollercoaster will not earn repeat business.
Inspect and adapt
Measuring user experience is a good way to track how well you are doing. Even products which aren't totally "ripe" can generate interest and loyalty, IF the user experience is good. And even "problems", when handled well, can result in happy customers and referrals. Surprise your customers, and they won't forget you. And they'll keep coming back.