UX vs UX Design

Don Norma[n/l] – who introduced the term user experience into our digital design world – says what UX actually used to mean – and what the term UX still should be used for_

From my point of view, in order to keep things straight, UX is psychology. It is the perception, the cognition, the emotions, the reactions and actions of a human being before, while and after she is using a product, service or system.

On the other hand, Usability is a property of a product in a specific context for specific users. It consists of the independent dimensions effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction. These factors can be measured and improved.

UX Design is a holistic design approach to improve the people’s UX while interacting with products, services and systems – before the purchase or sign up, during the use, and after the usage to consider if they want to sign up for an extended subscription or buy another product of the brand. People’s UX can be improved by means of improving the usability of the product, and by improving the way people interact with the service or system. This should be the job of UX designers or interaction designers or service designers. Congratulations if you have someone like that in your team.

I doubt that we will ever have robust computer-2-brain systems. Until then, UX stays subjective. Therefore, I am glad that I’ve found this picture to illustrate exactly this_

gopro_happyhorror_800 UX is subjective. (frame from a GoPro commercial)

Do you realize the difference? UX designers do not design the user experience. They design products, systems and services in order to create a better UX on the user’s end.

à propos

3 responses

  1. Wonderful typo: Don Normal.
    I hope his point of view will become the “Normal” sometimes in the near future 😉

  2. Well explained! In Service Design, some use the term “Design for Service” to stress the fact that service itself is an experience that cannot be designed. Yet, we can analyze and improve service processes and thus increase the likelihood of a positive user and service experience.

    • Thanks Katrin,
      I have less problem to “design a service” because I see ‘service’ as the sum of actions – digital and analog – that are offered to a customer. But indeed, once you define ‘service’ as an experience you run into the same confusing situation as mentioned above. I think it is unfortunate that we have several competing notions of the term ‘user experience’. The sharp distinction between ‘user experience’/ISO9241-210 and ‘user experience design’/Norman is my way out.
      You have to aim for precision when using words. Otherwise, there is no chance to understand each other.

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