User experience: you don’t design it, you design for It

digital user experience

The user experience (UX) term has become a fad many people use incorrectly today. Designers are having unrealistic expectations about how the UX design process and it’s outcomes, forgetting that it doesn’t only rely on the design, but other aspects also.

It’s noticeable that when showcasing UX work, some digital solutions companies show their work by presenting sitemaps, wireframes and stuff that is more related to Information Architecture (IA). Using these materials to showcase UX work is not incorrect, but it underestimates what a UX is.

How do we perceive the UX term?

The user experience research and analysis that has been conducted helps in answering this question. According to understanding, scoping and defining user experience: a survey approach study, people have different perceptions of what a digital user experience really is, and to mention the confusion that most people have between UI and UX design. But they all still agree that it is highly related to communication between a computer and human and not based on the traditional Human and Computer Interaction (HCI), which measures task solution, final goals, and achievements only.

Can you design a digital user experience

Understanding what a digital user experience is the only solution to help designers get the right answer to this question. Marianna Obrist et al’s  interaction design professor at University of Sussex article  “Evaluating user-generated content creation across contexts and cultures” suggests that the UX is a result of certain factors such as fun, emotion, usability, motivation, co-experience, user involvement and user engagement.

It’s all based on the person’s emotions, expectations, and the situation he is using the product in. All of these aspects are not designable. Therefore we don’t design a UX, we design for it.

It is possible to have a good understanding of how your user will judge individual variables while using your product or service. The information architecture and user experience expert Peter Morville created the “Facets of User Experience” diagram to illustrate the aspects of user experience that requires the user’s judgment.

The model suggests that the user mainly focuses on judging if a product is useful, usable, desirable, findable, accessible, credible, and valuable.

Keeping those aspects in mind while designing a website or an app will help you to expect the user experience that your user aims for and design for it in the best way possible.

If it’s not UX design, then what is it

Steve Jobs gave the perfect answer to this question when he was asked what he does as a UX designer, he said: “I play the orchestra.” The conductor doesn’t’ write the music sheet or play it. But he tends to bring out the best of it.

Another good example is a movie director. He doesn’t write the story, shoots the scenes, or recorded the sound. He takes it all directs it in a way that will provoke a certain feeling in the audience.

The UX process requires collaborative teamwork too. The UX designers don’t produce anything tangible. For example, the User Interface (UI) designers create the interface. The copywriter produces the copy. The developers write the code, and so on until the product is made.

UX designers don’t create the experience, but it can be molded and directed. A great director will bring out the best in a story, while a bad one can ruin it. The same goes for UX designers. They cannot fundamentally control every detail of the experience, but they can influence it, and direct it.

A tip for UX directors

When designing for a user experience, try to understand your user’s expectations deeply  and then exceed it.

Know more about how we design for an amusing UX by clicking here


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