Saturday, July 3, 2010

What's user experience (and this blog) all about?

Welcome to UX Buzz. This is blog is about user experience (UX). In case you're not familiar with the fancy term, this post tries to explain what's it about and why it matters. I hope you get something out of my thoughts. Conversation is always great so comments are very much appreciated. Let's get into it.

Another definition of user experience? Not again?

No, don't worry, I'm not falling for that. So many people have tried to box "user experience" into a couple of sentences that we could stick to. Not one of those definitions seems wrong but they all are different! The term user experience was coined by Don Norman in the 1990's but what's it all about has been around one.

I'm not going to go for a well-thought definition but still I think it's fair to use a couple of words to describe what this blog is all about.

In my humble opinion, all the definition you need is this.
User Experience is about how stuff works for you. 
A good user experience is that it works well for you, a bad one means it doesn't work for you. It's as simple as that. User Experience is what happens when you do something. You doing something includes you and something. A good user experience means you're happy with what happened. A bad user experience means something did not work for you. This experience thing can be extended to anything. A great movie. A car that breaks down. A thing that doesn't work and pisses you off. Your favourite artist's concert that you'll never forget. A mobile phone that you need to hold in a certain way that it even works... You experience something and then think how it was for you. That simple! All this hype and actually we're just talking about how we feel about things. It's nothing new. We just put a label on it. Industrial designers, artist and a whole bunch of other people have known about the importance of this stuff for ages. Talk about about a marketing trick!

Mostly things that involve software have been hard to use, ugly and boring. Big bosses only wanted to do things cheap. Well, now we have accomplished that it's pretty expensive and stupid to do something and have nobody buy the product. So things have changed. In IT business, now it's all about making great stuff that works for customers. Not because somehow companies started to care about people. It's because making things good for customers has become the critical driver for business. Customers buy what they like. They'll even pay more to get things that they want. You don't need to go far for an example. Apple almost died before Steve Jobs rescued the company. He did it by concentrating on design and user experience. Now Apple is the biggest tech firm in the world. People are obsessed over iPhones, MacBooks and iPods even though they cost so much more than their competition - and are technically worse than their competion.

So, making great experiences rules the world. This blog about user experience - mostly on websites, gadgets and other stuff that include software. There might be a sarcastic joke or two about things that could easily have been designed better but somewhere during the process, the ball was dropped. Hopefully posts in future, post won't be this long. Anyway, thanks for reading this far and see you later!


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