Wednesday, January 11, 2006

UX Defined

Seen the definition of user experience over at the must-visit UXmatters site?
User experience (UX) encompasses all aspects of a digital product that users experience directly—and perceive, learn, and use—including its form, behavior, and content. Learnability, usability, usefulness, and aesthetic appeal are key factors in users' experience of a product. UX design takes a holistic, multidisciplinary approach to the design of user interfaces for digital products. It integrates interaction design,
industrial design, information architecture, visual user interface design, instructional design, and user-centered design, ensuring coherence and consistency across all of these design dimensions.
I think this is well put, and (as usual) have a couple of quibbles.

Although it's clear that the context of UXmatters (and UXCentric for that matter) is on the digital world, I'd rather not limit UX to the realm of 1s and 0s. That one word could be seen as shrinking the set of domains where we working in the digital world might look for wisdom, inspiration and guidance. I, for one, find that my best insights for digital UX usually come from the Real World. I'm sure that it's not the intention of UXmatters to narrow UX to the virtual realm alone—but the way we speak about our craft is important.

My second thought is related to the first. My favorite part of the definition is the latter half describing UX as multidisciplinary. That's what drew me to UX design in the first place and it's what gets my creative juices flowing each day. I realize that a concise definition can't include every possible influence on UX, but I miss references to filmmaking, set design, audio design and even theme park design. As UX expands beyond interactions on a distinct screen to perceived realities, we're going to have to add skills like these to our palettes.

But I'm nitpicking. UXmatters' definition is excellent and the discipline better because of it.

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