Some people mistakenly use the terms user experience and usability almost interchangeably. However, usability is increasingly being used to refer specifically to the ease with which users can complete their intended tasks, and is closely associated with usability testing. Therefore, many perceive usability to be a rather tactical aspect of product design. In contrast, UX professionals use the term user experience much more broadly, to cover everything ranging from ease of use to user engagement to visual appeal. User experience better captures all of the psychological and behavioral aspects of users’ interactions with products.
To help define the objectives and scope of user experience efforts, as well as enable their meaningful measurement, I would like to propose a conceptual framework that describes four distinct elements of user experience, as shown in Figure 1, and how they interact with one another in driving better product designs. Read More
In Part I of this series, I provided an overview of the four elements of user experience: usability, desirability, adoptability, and value. By decomposing user experience into these four elements, we can see that user experience is much more than just ease of use. In fact, when it comes to business impact, I would argue that usability is of less importance than the other three elements—even though it is the most frequently mentioned aspect of user experience. The reason? That’s the topic of this column.
We can break down how users interact with a product into two stages. At the first stage, a user has yet to use the product, but is considering whether to use it. If the user finds it appealing, he may start using it. Getting people to start using a product has greater business impact, but designers often expend too little effort at this stage to fully realize the potential business impact. At the second stage, the user is actually using the product, and that is when usability plays a critical role. Let’s look at a few examples to illustrate these two stages. Read More
In Part II of this series, I explained the benefits of breaking down user experience into its four elements—usability, desirability, adoptability, and value—and discussed ways of applying this framework to help you develop products that customers love. In Part III, I’ll discuss the relative importance of each of these four elements in driving UX success, according to the type of product your team is developing. Understanding the relative importance of the four elements is critical to correctly prioritizing product design and development efforts.
When assessing your product’s user experience, keep in mind that not all elements of user experience are of equal importance. As I’ve mentioned in previous columns, a product’s usability often matters less than its adoptability, value, and desirability, because these three elements play a large role in getting users to start using the product. However, that’s not always the case; it depends on the type of product you’re developing. Let’s look at a few common product categories. Read More