There seems to be a huge level of confusion around user experience (UX), but one of the key things is that the user interface is not the user experience architecture.
User Interface – what the user sees
Interface Logic – what the user can do
Data Systems – the content the user creates and interacts with
Platform – the users delivery mechanism
user experience is defined by what users can do, not just what they can see
If you are paying for UX you should be asking “how did the UX change the interaction, logic, data systems and platform” if it did not influence it, you only got UI design.
The user interface is the top level component that users see.
The user experience is not a single component it is a set of features that is facilitated through several components.
An update about paying for UX, as business start to recognise that visual tweaks to a product after the solution stage are not enough for savvy consumers.
Also the non-system elements – customer service, marketing and POS material (is this consistent with the message being communicated on the system) etc.
The customer, client or worker doesn’t see the difference – they see one big system.
It is often frustrating to do a piece of research and find out all the weak points in an organisations’ “system” and be told, just tell us what the UI needs to do. It is a rare job indeed that they are interested in the other non-system fail-points of the user experience.
User experience is about making people’s lives better not just changed
A persons experience is based in their mind and their emotions and can be established by both actual interaction and reflective (biographical experience) inputs.
In UX we define inputs in digital or real world frameworks which enable the creation of solutions that have meaningful impact and that can be measured.
Overview of UX
The current approach to UX is that it is the practical implementation of audience drivers, cognitive acuity, usability standards and accessibility laws with ergonomics (physical, contextual use) and anthropometric (digital behaviours analytics) measures. Creating an integration of business context into user context, to facilitate alignment, transactions and communications.
Definition; A user is a representative of the target audience. They are not involved in the project in any way. They will use the final product or service either as a customer or as an internal business user.
UX is not involved in the Look and Feel associated with GUI’s but rather delivers the human solution that can be accessed through any user interface this is why UX is closely associated with assistive technologies used in accessibility which are in turn derivatives of technologies developed for the military and space exploration.
While UX is not rocket science, it has been involved in the space program
The UX Process
We first try to ‘Understand the Problem’ from the user perspective (user research) so that we can create User Requirements, these combined with Business Requirements and Implicit Requirements create Project Requirements.
This process often called Discovery and can find new requirements, challenge business requirements or redirect the entire project along a route that delivers the business or organisation what they want but in a totally different way.
To de-risk human error (needing to be right) we work from researched archetypes (persona modelling) which creates the opportunity to ‘think like a user’ a great support tool if users are not always available.
This post is republished from an earlier blog from 2001.