About fifteen years ago Asahiyama Zoo, one of the best zoos in Japan, was in crisis due to a lack of profits and investments. In order to break out of their slump, they have been trying to think outside the box and studying to provide experiences that distinguish them from other zoos.
What was so special about this zoo that saved it from its financial difficulties?
The most important answer to this is UX (User eXperience). As you know, a zoo is a place where we watch animals kept in cages. Asahiyama Zoo had given a lot of thought about how to present the best experience to their visitors, and came up with a system where they can enjoy watching happy animals in their optimal environment in which they feel most comfortable. This was based on the idea that watching the animals in their natural state is better than any artificial place.
Then let’s take a look at UX.
What is UX?
UX (User eXperience) means the total experience including the perception and reaction that a user gets with a product, service, or interaction with a company. The first time such a term was used was in the HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) field. Many concepts that are related to UX have also originated from software and hardware development in the computer engineering field since then. However, UX is not limited to computers and technology. As we saw with Asahiyama Zoo, UX can be applied in industrial products, services, processes, culture, and society.
UX in Our Daily Lives
Since UX is applied in various fields, it’s pretty easy to find it in our daily lives.
One example of this would be subway trains with UX. Subway trains in Seoul have hand straps at different heights. This is a UX application which considered passengers of different heights so that no one would have difficulty holding onto the straps.
MacBooks by Apple can also be considered an example of UX. The reason why so many people buy MacBooks even though they are pricier than other laptops is because they’re designed to satisfy the users’ needs regarding weight, appearance, and convenience.
Naver, a Korean search engine, also applied the concept of UX for their online comic service called ‘Webtoon’. Comic books are loved by many not only because they’re fun, but also because they’re so easy and quick to read. Naver realized that carrying multiple comic books can be very troublesome, and came up with the idea for webtoons where you can read as many books as you want online whenever you want to. This is a very good example of a UX application which understood the users’ point of view successfully.
UX Lab at LG CNS
As UX is applied in many different fields, interest in UX is growing rapidly. Even if it’s the same technology, the results that the user experiences in convenience and satisfaction may differ greatly based on whether one considered the concept of UX. UX, therefore, is becoming a central part in fields like marketing, business administration, industrial design, and software engineering.
LG CNS understood the critical role of UX and established UX Lab in 2007. At UX Lab, researchers analyze, develop, and experience how users feel in order to actualize and support the optimal UX. UX Lab also has an ‘observing room’ where they can watch the current UX conditions and come up with ideas for improvement.
LG CNS UX Lab is basically a place for value provision to satisfy the users. They’re planning to expand their territory from traditional UI to product, space, service, and design.
UX by LG CNS
One of the hottest topics for IT service corporations is ‘convergence.’ Reflecting this trend, LG CNS is playing a leading role in new business development through a convergence between IT and other diverse industries. The best examples are electric car chargers, smart financial branches, and Mpost (integrated mobile billing service).
The future of UX
Major companies such as Google, Apple, and LG Electronics gathered to introduce the UX application cases and share information at UX World 2013. This shows that considering UX as a crucial part in every step of development is becoming a new norm in the industry. Because it is important to form strategies based on UX from the beginning of development to maximize user satisfaction, UX is no longer an issue only for designers.
Smart technology in the future depends on how the users’ value is obtained. It is necessary for companies to form an organic and consistent relationship with users, understand them, and sense rapidly changing environments. This type of relationship, as a result, will contribute to high value and better corporate performance.