User experience (UX) is today something of a buzzword. Those involved in this relatively new practice are not “touchy-feely” but aspire to make it an exacting discipline based on research and data analysis. Universally recognized as part of “best practice” standards, UX is the study of how to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Paradoxically, putting the user first is a new idea. For decades, graphic designers were focused on delivering their client's message in the most efficient and persuasive manner, forgetting the consumers in the process. Nowadays, thanks to the fluidity of the digital language, the communication between a brand and its audience is a two-way street. In fact, innovations are often customer driven: the way people experience a product or a service is very much part of the brand equation.
Designers who make a profession of UX are the first to admit that it is still an amorphous, multidisciplinary concept, incorporating aspects of psychology, sociology, ergonomics, and computer science, just to name a few complementary disciplines. In other words, user experience designers are not specialists but polymaths. They are the Renaissance men (and women) of the digital age. As such, they find their place in software development, but also in fields where fast-paced technological advances threaten the user's sovereignty.