This is one of the 52 terms in The Language of Technical Communication published by XML Press in 2016 and the contributor for this term is Noz Urbina.
What is it?
The overall outcome of a user’s interaction with a product, service, or organization across all touch-points, experienced through the lens of the user’s personal background and preferences.
Why is it important?
User experience is the comprehensive, holistic measurement of organizational performance and understanding of the market because every user is unique and any link in the chain can harm their experience.
Why does a technical communicator need to know this?
If you want to create a great experience for your users when they come to your content, you have to understand their particular situation. A technical communication team must understand its users, and their relationship with products and services, across the entire lifecycle of that relationship.
Technical communicators need to be empowered to develop a clear understanding of user personas and meaningful metrics for tracking user experience (UX), both of which are necessary to evaluate the performance of content in a user-centric way. In other words, if you’re not measuring user experience, you’re only measuring for yourself.
All communications and customer-facing staff need to participate in delivering experiences. From websites to packaging to event collateral, from mailers to presentations to user interface text, from manuals to answers read over the phone or delivered by an instant message: all communications are threads linking the user and the organization. These threads intertwine to sew the tapestry of user experience.
Focusing on UX will help you uncover new ways to deliver your content, for example, embedding it in the user interface, delivering interactive portals, or even creating wearable tech or augmented reality. Being user-centric helps you get out of your own mindset and limitations and rethink content from the outside in.
Delivering value-added content as a contribution to UX generates positive content karma: the more value you deliver to your users, the more value will come back your way. When each touch-point is optimized to work in concert, users will be more positive and engaged.