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User experience design (UXD or UED) is the idea of designing software products and systems to be useful to a set of end users.
It is a broad-level concept that is applied during the design process. It covers the technical use of a product or service, and its essential physical interface, or how humans encounter the technology in the field.
As an example of UXD, consider how the standard user interface has evolved over the last four or five decades. Essentially, the technology has gone from large mainframe computers controlled by alphanumeric keyboards to small-screen devices that use a touchscreen interface. However, in the last 10 years, the interface field has evolved to include items like the wearable Google Glass, along with the promise of three-dimensional physical control panels, such as bendable touchscreen interfaces.
Applying user experience design to any given product or system, designers think about ergonomics and practicality. They think about what humans will experience when they approach a technology. More than that, they also think about the individual controls and menu items that individuals use to navigate an interface. For example, making visual icons representative of their uses and applying the right labels to controls and screens are a major part of user experience design. However, so is the idea that software systems have to have the right features, the things that end users are looking for.
In addition, the idea of user experience design has extended from licensed software products to Web-delivered systems and websites, and to social media platforms. Wherever companies interact with customers, user experience design is relevant, and it is something that vendors and other marketers are pursuing, along with things like customer relationship management, to make sure they understand things from the end user's point of view.