What is experience? For every person, there is likely a very unique definition. To a job seeker, it’s a section on a resume. A traveler might define it in photos uploaded to Flickr. Another might speak of a spiritual journey.
At its foundation, experience is that bridge with connects each of us to our world. Through our senses, we are able to navigate a complex and infinite universe, often familiar, but frequently not. It is the latter wanderer whom the UX professional seeks to guide, to provide him or her with a landscape which, although foreign, is at at the same time familiar.
Oscar Wilde once remarked, “experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.” A century ago, in what — in many ways — was a slower time, such words are almost quaint. But, in the present world, a single life may be filled with more distractions than an entire city experienced in a generation in Mr. Wilde’s time. On the Internet, a mistake, in an instant, may come at the expense of an otherwise desirable client — or many.
And, so, such is the art of the UX designer, practicing a craft built upon cognitive psychology, qualitative statistics, personas, wireframes, usability studies, taxonomies and endless possibilities, all with the simple goal of simplifying the complexity of experience.
My task, then, is to ensure that your website’s visitors find and collect what they came for, as efficiently, painlessly and quickly as possible. And, hopefully, that they will recall their experience as good, one that they will share with others.