The user experience is made up of all the interactions a person has with your brand, company, or organization. This may include interactions with your software, your web site, your call center, an advertisement, with a sticker on someone else’s computer, with a mobile application, with your Twitter account, with you over email, maybe even face-to-face. The sum total of these interactions over time is the user experience.
The interaction designer plans for these moments. Part of their responsibility is to make all interactions positive, and includes aspects of the software, the copy-writing, the graphics, layout, flows, physical experiences. It’s a shame when one part of the experience is top notch and another is dreadful. Cohesion is important.
User experience spans multiple practices. Let’s take an example from architecture. If an architect were hired by a deep-pocketed client to create a great user experience, they wouldn’t stop at the structure in which people live. They would pay attention to the surrounding greenery, the arc of the driveway, the views of the property at each angle…maybe even the way guests are greeted and the table is set. All of these touch-points are important parts of the larger system…the house is merely one piece of the puzzle.
Web designers, traditionally secure in the role of page creators, now have a wider purview. The landscape on which people experience our design is wider than ever before. Thus, we must adapt our ways to include all aspects of experience.