What is "User Experience?"

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This week’s Ask the Mompreneur features an interview with John Boykin, a user experience (EX) expert and information architect, who has consulted to companies such as Walmart, Bank of American, NBC, and Del Monte.

Ask the Mompreneur

I have worked on business websites for over a decade, but it was only in the last couple of years that I stumbled upon a field called user experience, or UX, and realized there was a proper name of a bunch of stuff that I had previous called

John Boykin

User experience, or UX, is the practice of designing your website, mobile app, or whatever to give your users the best possible experience consistent with your business needs. The core principle of good user experience is empathy.

To design a good user experience, you must be able to see the world through your users

- Talking with and, more important, listening to your users

- Observing them using your baby, particularly where they stumble

- Statistically tracking how they are actually using it, particularly the points at which their progress stops

Entrepreneurs who donof time and money, usually under the false assumption that their user is just like them.

Other tips:

Service, not product

Think of what you are offering as a service, not a product: How does it help impatient people solve their problems, get the info they need, or enjoy some other payoff they want? Users canly about what


Subtract, subtract, subtract. Have as few:

- Words

- Images

- Boxes and lines

- Features

- Screens and steps

- Form fields

- Distractions and doodads

as is absolutely necessary to accomplish the purpose. A good way to force yourself to minimize is to design for the smallest smart phone first, which forces you to prioritize elements.


Your value proposition needs to be so clear and concise that users understand it at a glance. They should be able to get the point of each screen in two seconds of scanning. That means:

- A self-explanatory screen title that says what that screen is or what the user is supposed to do there

- Plenty of subheads

- Crystal clear wording (including your action buttons)

Aesthetics come last

Sure, you want your baby to look good. And, once you

Improve your odds

A good user experience does not guarantee success. But a bad user experience does guarantee failure. To improve your odds dramatically, make good user experience a priority.

For more on UX, see my 3-minute video Satisfy the Cat: a.k.a. User-Centered Design.

Jennie Wong, Ph.D. is the CEO of, an ecommerce conversion tool for online retailers. Dr. Wong is also a certified executive coach and nationally syndicated columnist.