Spend more than thirty seconds in a marketing meeting, and somebody is going to drop the "UX" word, followed by nods and grumbles of approval. Often, the person saying it isn't sure what it means, and there's a 100% chance some of the people nodding and grumbling don't know what it is.
So what is "UX" and why has it quickly overtaken "SEO" and "synergy" as the buzzword of the year?
Because companies are focusing more on ease of use of a product, especially an app or device, than all the things it is purported to do. After all, what good is a smartphone or Nintendo Switch or new time management app if working it is harder than a graphing calculator?
UX simply means "user experience." It refers to the ease of use and enjoyment of use for a product. An example of comparison would be traditional diabetes monitors, which require regular pricking of the fingers and complex monitoring protocol, versus the newer patches, which can be monitored on your smartphone sans needles.
UX is why the Wii saved Nintendo from financial disaster, and why auto-injectors for epinephrine outsell ordinary syringes 100 to 1. It's why restaurants with online menus instead of downloadable pdfs garner more customers, and its why automatic cars are a more common sight in the US than stick.
Buzzword aside, we have entered an age where a person's time is more valuable than their money, and where stress has reached levels that a person will quit watching a video, using a software program, or leave a website if the navigation, dialogue, or interface is a smidgen too difficult to manage. UX is not only important for a business, but neglecting its use is overlooking a massive resource for ensuring customer loyalty and overall satisfaction.