The goal of the user experience discipline is more than just making things possible. It's making products easy to use and intuitive. Users have less tolerance for having to read manuals or watch training videos to use an online service or mobile app. The risk of not making products intuitive is having your products become irrelevant.
User experience (UX) is all about reducing cognitive friction when users visit a website, or use a web or mobile application. The less friction and the less time it takes to complete an objective, the higher the chance for a good user experience. This type of experience not only makes users more productive with less training, but gives them more satisfaction.
In summary, UX is the measure of friction between a user and their goal.
UX is not the same as user interface (UI). UI is important, but only a small part. UX is the design, the user flows, the research and science behind reducing friction.
UX is also not the same as customer experience (CX). CX tends to focus more on how a person feels about interacting with a brand, whereas the measure of UX is how a user feels about interacting with your product.
First and foremost to creating a great user experience is user research. This is similar to user persona development that product managers seek to identify. It is striving to understand where the user is, how easy is it for them to learn a new product, what needs and objectives they have in using the product.
This only comes from interviewing the target user and learning much about them. In addition, observing them in their environment can also uncover potential needs they may not be able to articulate. Identifying these needs leads to figuring out the basic objectives of the product, then determining how to make it super easy to accomplish these objectives.
One of the most important things about UX is understanding that you are NOT the target user of the product. Which is why you need to talk to, interview and observe others to learn about the user, their needs and their pain points.
UX requires putting the user at the center of every product decision. Does the decision the product developer, designer and product manager benefit the user? Or does it benefit more the developer?