It was in 1995 when renowned cognitive psychologist and designer Don Norman invented the term user experience (UX) to describe the activities of his team at Apple. And yet today, the term is still not well known. If you work in UX, you have probably experienced reactions varying from “What is UX?” to “Is it like graphic design?”.
With the holiday season approaching, there will likely be several encounters where you will have to explain what you are doing to people with varying degrees of familiarity with user experience. Luckily, we have a few tricks to help you…
UX for your aunt
Begin the conversation with a concrete example by asking your aunt to tell you about a bad experience she had, for example, with her internet service or cell phone. Ask her to identify difficulties that have hampered her experience. Did she get a good service the last time she contacted customer service? Is it easy to check her account from her phone? Does she understand her billing and consumption data?
Then, you can explain her that your job is to remove all the pain that impairs the quality of a good experience, to design products and services that people would love to use.
UX for your sister’s boyfriend
Let’s say your sister’s boyfriend works in marketing. You say to yourself “Great! He must know what the UX is.” Unfortunately, your big smile fades away when he proclaims: “Oh yeah, you make websites”.
Before questioning your sister’s choice of partner, at least take the time to explain what UX means to you. Wikipedia has a small definition that should clarify it: “UX is a process of enhancing user satisfaction with product by improving usability, accessibility and pleasure provided in the interaction with the product. “
If this spurs interest, you could even show him the definition given by Don Norman in a recent video capsule where he explains that the experience of the user encompasses “everything”. All the interactions that a person has with a product or service, their first contact with it, their anticipation, their use, from purchase to reception and installation … and also the interfaces, but not just the interfaces. Interface design is only part of the experience.
UX for your colleague
As you are celebrating holidays at the office party, your colleague is wondering how the team can better work together to create delightful experience to customers. Although he is a product manager and has an idea of what UX is, he often involves you late in the project cycle. Prepare the ground for the coming year by helping him implement the user centric design process on a small project. This process is usually accompanied by phases of discovery, definition, development and deployment. Introduce him to UX design tools.
What do you think?
What is UX to you? What challenges do you encounter when trying to explain it to people who are not in the field? Feel free to share your comments below, on Facebook, or on Twitter.