What Is UX?
UX is a way of thinking
User Experience Design (UX) is a way of thinking about your product or service differently — it is a human-centered perspective that puts the needs of people at the center of an iterative problem-solving approach. UX Design isn't about pushing your solutions onto your users, it is about building what your users actually need to accomplish their goals.
To design a great user experience, you need to understand who your users are, where they are coming from, what goals they are trying to accomplish, how they naturally set about accomplishing these goals, and their expectations of your product or service. This information is weighed with business needs for the product or service and — together — these drive decision making through the design and development efforts.
“User experience is about more than just ease of use, of course. It is about motivations, attitudes, expectations, behavioral patterns, and constraints. It is about the types of interactions people have, how they feel about an experience, and what actions they expect to take. User experience also comprehends more than just the few moments of a single site visit or one-time use of an application; it is about the cross-channel user journey, too.” - UX Matters
Ultimately, UX Design encapsulates a holistic view of users' entire experience as they go about accomplishing their goals through multiple workflows, across many platforms, channels and touchpoints.
Emerging fields like Service Design and Customer Experience Design share similar concerns as UX Design. But despite slight variations in focus (e.g. Service Design may focus more on back-end processes and less on interface, information, and visual design; Customer Experience Design may focus more on brand perception, pricing, and perceived value) these fields take similar approaches and utilize similar user-centered methodologies as UX Design. We are standing on shifting sands as far as these relatively new disciplines go - you will likely come across a host of ways of defining and delimiting these disciplines. But as user-centered designers our focus has not shifted: we aim to make people happy by creating great experiences of useful and usable products and services.