“The user experience is the totality of end-users’ perceptions as they interact with a product or service.”
These perceptions include:
- effectiveness: how good is the result?
- efficiency: how fast or cheap is it?
- emotional satisfaction: how good does it feel?
- quality of the relationship with the entity that created the product or service: what expectations does it create for subsequent interactions?” – Kuniavsky (2010)
User experience is a wide concept. The design of experiences therefore requires holitistic design based on:
- business goals
- user needs
The 3 key elements of digital user experience
User experience is designed around Business goals (of the business hiring the UX designer), User needs (using the digital product in question) and technological constraints (technology used by users).
Since user experience is multi-faceted, it needs to be designed collaboratively. Designers need to work with stakeholders & developers to create better experiences. Find why team work is so important in this article from UX Matters.
User experience, to be effective and efficient, needs to meet users goals. Read more about it in this Nielsen Norman’s article.
To be really satisfying, user experience needs to be pleasurable.
Other important considerations
User experience changes over time: depending on users’ experience of your own digital tool and of others. After several uses of the same interface, a user will use it in different ways. Similarly, the user’s experience of other websites influences the expectations he or she has when using your site. For instance, Amazon has set standards in navigating large commercial websites, with faceted navigation. Consequence: designers/managers need to continuously benchmark their work to other digital tools.
User experience depends on the context of use. Key to design is to design with users’ context of use in mind. Questions to ask yourself when designing: what other page could the user come from before starting using my tool? where is my user going to use my tool? What state of mind is the user in when using my tool?
Users sometimes are more easily distracted depending on context of use; for instance browsing a newspaper on an Ipad while watching TV is a different experience compared to reading the same newspaper on a computer at work.
What UX is not
UX is not User Interface
The User Interface (UI) is concerned with the interface of a product. The main goal of a UI designer is to design interfaces that are easy to use/understand and facilitate users’ actions. For instance, a UI designer of a website would use Photoshop to design webpages. She would pick the right interaction elements (e.g. text fields, buttons, check boxes…), style them appropriately to create usable and attractive web pages.
UX is not usability
Usability is a set of qualities of an interface (easy to learn, efficient to use, pleasant…). User experience is a broader term. Using user research, a UX designer can help define what product to design, not just its qualities.
What is a successful digital User Experience ?
Good user experience meets the following users’ needs:
- Practical: users effectively achieve their goals using the product in an efficient way,
- Emotional: users connect with the tool in an emotional way (they find it funny, intriguing, surprising etc…).
As you can see from these definitions, User Experience is an holistic and multi-faceted concept. In a future post I will cover the “emotional” side of user experience. If, like me, you’re interested the role of emotions in design, you may have a look at “Designing for emotion” by Aarron Walter.
Peter Morville further explains important UX elements (context, content and users) and facets in this article.
UX definition from All About UX
A definition of UX by Norman Nielsen Group
UX without user research is not UX by Norman Nielsen Group
The importance of collaborative UX design on UX Matters
Observing the User Experience (link to Amazon), Mike Kuniavsky’s great book on user research
A clear and simple description of the UX process: A Project Guide to UX Design by Chandler & Unger