June 2, 2014

How I define User Experience

Defining UX has been a great focus of product designers. The majority of them defining UX in their own terms, and rightly so since UX is so closely aligned to the personal experience. This in itself causes problems with communicating UX to the broader audience.

When two or more people come to a subject matter, UX in this instance, at different times they will most likely understand that subject differently depending on time and place. This creates a problem of communication that is very similar to the old adage of the blind men and the elephant where each blind man’s description of the elephant was very different from the others’ descriptions. Those of us who come to UX from Information Architecture view UX differently than those who come from Interaction Design. The same is true for those who come from the development or business side. Furthermore, the view will differ depending on when the person comes to understand UX because the understanding also changes in time. Because there is no solution to this problem given that every person only has his or her own historical context I propose that we create a UX language. We can modify this language for every situation we rely on UX. This refocuses the conversation to language and patterns. To that end, I propose that UX is both (1) the method used to create the experience or Experience Design and (2) the experience of the thing or place itself. The method used to create the experience is the focus here.