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User Experience

Textbook definition

User experience (UX) is the way a person feels about using a product, system or service. UX highlights the experiential, affective, meaningful and valuable aspects of human-computer interaction and product ownership, but it also includes a person’s perceptions of the practical aspects such as utility, ease of use and efficiency of the system. UX is subjective in nature because it is about an person's feelings and thoughts about the system. UX is dynamic because it changes over time as the circumstances change.

Simple definition

UX is the interaction between humans and — for the purposes of this guide — websites. This interaction can be reviewed and ultimately enhanced to provide the best possible experience for people who use our sites.

Why we care about UX

These interactions are the foundation of our work on the Web. If we are not providing positive experiences it is almost impossible to implement strategies and reach key communication goals. Imagine that our number one goal is to get students to apply to our university (hard to imagine right?). We could never reach this goal if our application process was incredibly difficult to find and fill out. On the other side of that scenario, if our application is effortless and even engaging, we might form a positive connection between students and the university. Not to mention that they would apply! Students have enough things to worry about when considering a university like fit, cost and their future — they don't need us to toss up usability roadblocks.


Web UX is a deep and interesting field. There are many techniques for reviewing the UX of your site. You can contact the Web Communications office if you are looking for one-on-one guidance. We also encourage you to pick up one of these great books: