Experience:

noun | ex•pe•ri•ence | \ik-ˈspir-ē-ən(t)s\
: the process of doing and seeing things and of having things happen to you

Experiences are the fundamental component of relationships between people, brands, technologies and environments of all kinds. As marketers, it is our job to make sure the experiences we create are satisfying to the ones we are creating them for, also known as users.

That’s where I come in. My name is Matt Rumer and I am AKHIA’s UX Lead (user experience) and a Senior Art Director. It’s my job to understand users—and give them a voice when it comes to expectations and experiences.

Think about it, when was the last time you had a bad interaction with a product or service? Maybe it was Valentine’s Day, when you needed to buy your very pregnant wife flowers and you didn’t realize you clicked the wrong button, buying the “Get Well Soon” deluxe package instead of the “Cupid Special.” (I can attest… it’s not a pleasant user experience.)

… Or, what about that time you were in college and went to open the door of a convenience store for a group of attractive young females. Come to find out, the unlabeled door was a “pull,” not a “push,” and you ran face first into the BOGO Twix door cling. (Again… not a pleasant user experience. I’m guessing.)

These types of experiences happen on a daily basis, and if users don’t have a voice in the creative development process… their needs or expectations may not be met, and the experience won’t be a positive one. Face it, interactions happen—let’s plan for them.

So, how do we give a user a voice? Simple, with user experience.

What is User Experience (UX)?
UX is the understanding of your users: what they need, what they value, their abilities, their goals, their objectives and also their limitations. UX best practices are applied to promote a valuable experience as it relates to the products and services you offer. In the past, it was common for a stakeholder(s) to invest in creating a product or service based on his or her own vision and preferences. Countless hours—and even more dollars—could go into such a project, which, in the end, could potentially flop because it doesn’t satisfy the intended user.

It is important to note that UX is not a one-size-fits-all approach, because no two people are the same person. Each of us has our own behaviors and motivations when it comes to interacting with any kind of product or service. Therefore, UX consists of a variety of methods, processes and concepts that can be performed and applied, giving insight on exactly what users expect and need.

Through “Rumer Has It,” I hope to regularly share my UX knowledge with our readers, shedding light on how to put the user in the spotlight and deliver a valuable experience. Check back soon for future posts, and let me know in the comments what else you’d like me to cover.

Matt Rumer is Lead, User Experience and Senior Art Director at AKHIA.