The aim of the paper is to clearly define the UX concept. Ux has multi-disciplinary acceptance means that it is widely accepted in different domains and cultures. The exiting definitions of the Ux range from psychological to a business perspective. There is no one common agreed definition that suits everyone and all perspectives.
Ux or User experience is used as a synonyms for usability, user interface, interaction experience, interaction design, customer experience, website appeal, emotion, “wow effect”. Ux can also be called a big umbrella containing all these definitions and terms.
What is the need for a clear description of Ux ?
– helps teachers in teaching basic user experience
– communicate the meaning to the people who are unfamiliar with it.
– Clarify different perspectives of Ux to researchers and practitioners of Ux.
– Advance Ux as a research field.
– Promote Ux in commercial, industrial and government organisations.
Virpi roto and her colleagues have created a website known as “www.allaboutux.org” where about 77 different Ux evaluation methods have been presented. All the methods have been analyzed and compared based on the following factors –
– Study type
– Development phase
– Type of evaluator
– Areas of applications
– Type of data
Section 1. Introduction
Ux deals with studying, designing and evaluating the experiences that people have through like after or before using the system. The use can occur in particular context and its impact and contribution is the area of study in Ux. There are many perspectives of Ux like – It is a phenomena, field of study and practice. Different perspectives of Ux can be studied from –
1. Ux as a phenomena
– Describe what is Ux and what is not
– Identify different types of Ux
– Explain circumstances and consequences of Ux
2. Ux as a field of study
– Study phenomena like how experiences are formed
– Find the means to design systems that enable particular Ux
– Invest in developing Ux design and assessment methods
3. Ux as a practice
– Evaluate Ux
– Deliver design
– Envisioning and representing Ux
Health – Phenomena, Medicine – Field of study, Doctor – Practice
Section 2. Ux as a phenomena
Experience covers lot of things such as personally encountered, undergone or lived through but Ux refers only to those experiences that are derived from the encountered systems.
Ux is described as –
Ux is a subset of the general experiences
Ux as defined is experience encountered with systems can be active as well as passive.
It is rooted in social and cultural context.
Ux is influenced by prior experiences and expectations based on those experiences.
There are three kinds of experiences
Experiencing -Individual perceptions, interpretations of those perceptions, resulting emotions during an encounter with a system. Every individual has different set of experiences and they are dynamic in nature. Majority of the designers pay attention to the specific interaction events that have impact on the user’s emotions. Evaluation of the experiences focus on how individual will experience the system from moment to moment such as while travelling or sitting on the desk , etc
A user experience – refers to the experience that is encountered with the system from the beginning to the end. Mainly the outcome and memories of the experience rather than dynamic nature. User experience can be an individual or experience by a group of people?
Co-experience – means shared experience or group experience. It refers to the situations when the experiences are socially constructed. Here group behaviour/ group attitude is important. For example if a product is designed to be used by the multi-players like multi-touch screens than group experience is most important factor in the overall design.
Section 3. Time spans of Ux
The core part of the user experience is the actual experience of the usage. This does not cover all relevant Ux concerns. People have indirect experiences before they first encounter such as previous expectations, brand, advertisement, presentation, demonstration or other’s opinion.
There must be a contrast between experiencing and experience as both are different terms. Ux can be focused at a particular time span.Someone has experienced a product for a very brief moment.Someone can have cumulative experience formed during a series of usage episodes and periods of non-use. Different types of experiences based on time spans can be
Ux can be momentary Ux during some interaction
Ux can be episodic Ux i.e appraisal of a specific usage episode.
Ux can be cumulative like after using a system for long as a whole.
Ux can be anticipated Ux i.e before its first use.
Based on these time spans of Ux, a practitioner can improve the design. These time spans of Ux are challenges because they have different impact on user of the system. for example strong negative reaction after using the system can fade away after using the system for long or if any successful outcomes happens.
Anticipated Ux (Before use) – Imaging experience
Momentary Ux (During usage) – Experiencing
Episodic Ux (After usage) – Reflecting on an experience
Cumulative Ux (Over use) – Recollecting multiple periods of use
Section 4. Factors affecting Ux
There are wide range of factors that influence the Ux but they can be broadly classfied into three main categories –
1. Context – Ux may change as the context changes even though system remains the same. Context can be social context (working with other people), physical context (using a product on a table versus using in a moving vehicle), task context (environment and surroundings), technical context( product works only on WIFI/3G connection) example Kindle case.
2. User – Ux is a dynamic phenomena like motivation of the user can change anytime, mood, current and mental status, expectations, etc
3. System – Perception of the user greatly influence the Ux. The properties designed into the studied system can be – functionality, aesthetics, interaction behaviour, etc. All these properties like influence your opinions and perceptions. Example
– old looking phone having lot of scratches won’t appeal many users.
– brand and manufacturer’s image
– Apple means being cool, social status.
Important point in this classification – Ux is not described by Ux factors but Ux factors and their categories can be used to described Ux. These factors helps to identify the reasons behind a certain experience.
Section 5. Ux as a practice
Ux has its roots in UXD(User experience design) as given in Human centered Design, ISO 13407-1999 and later revised to ISO 9241-210 that can be summarized as-
– Position user as focus during design process
– Identify the aspects of design that are important for the target user
– Develop design iteratively and invite user’s for participation
– Collect user specific factors to access the design
These four points are somehow originated from the three main steps of any product development
UXD is not different from HCD but UXD adds some dimentions to the HCD in a mature form. UXD makes small additions to the area of HCD. The difference between UXD and HCD are –
– UX factors
– creatia used in UX work
– representation of UX idea
– Ux positioning in the organisation.
1. UX factors
The factors affecting UX are more complex, significantly broader compared to traditional usability or HCD.
Traditional usability is related to the performance and smooth interaction while UX factors relate to affect, interpretation and meaning.
Ux factors such as social and aesthetic aspects are very different from their traditional counterparts.
The work of UX practitioners is challenging compared to the traditional HCD practitioners because which UX factor to be consider is very tough. It is a common practice to consider only few of the UX factors that affects the suitability of the design.
Big challenge for the design teams is to make information available during the early phases of
the UXD process. For example –
i) scope the factors that are known because thoughts or evidences are the drivers of the UX
ii) Identify the factors that are critical to the success of the design.
iii)Identify those factors that are likely to need further investigations.
2. Methods, tools and criteria
Design teams face hard time in making trade-off between various requirements they have to meet. Ux has unidentifiable nature due to which it becomes more difficult to find and estimate post impacts if anything(Ux factors) is not considered. Design team often face problems in dealing with issues such as social, emotional or aesthetic in a very direct or explicit way. Often spontaneous decisions are taken based on the professional judgement. There is a need for some kind of methodologies, tools and criteria that can be used to manage different Ux factors during the product development.
Some recommendations on this were –
Setting initial targets
managing and iterative development of design proposals
evaluation work during and after the design
Factors related to the traditional usability can be handled using conventional methods. So is it so that traditional usability can be a parallel process to the UXD? so that UXD do not bother about the traditional usability. There are some measures of the Ux exists but there is lack of universal consensus on these. UX can be made assessable in many different ways. Like there are tools for evaluating whether an evoked emotion is positive or negative. There are also methods for evaluating particular Ux qualities such as trust, satisfaction and fun. The evaluation tools and methods are selected on the basis of –
Type of the system to be targeted
Type of evaluation like is it summative or constructive.
Time and financial constraints
3. Representing concepts and designs
One of the biggest challenge for the designers to make meaningful representation and designs. Finds ways of giving people a sense of what experiences might be like before the actual development. It is similar to visualization?
Why this concepts are representations are important?
Capture emotional responses of the people and their explanations
Commute to different people working in your organisation, staff, board members,etc
sustain the vision of the design team throughout the design process.
Stimulate the participation of the prospective users so as to gather the maximum feedback on design
4. UX within organizations
Ux is now recognised in different business sectors hence it is now part of the organisation business and strategy. There are some debates like how to fit Ux in the existing settings, Ux should be fit into different levels of organisation, multidisciplinary activity that can fit into the development processes. Ux has impact on the value propositions and business objectives.