Are you wondering what all the User Experience fuss is about?
User Experience (UX) is somewhat of an elusive notion with many different definitions, even amongst the UX community themselves. There is user experience involved in all product and service design however my focus here is purely on digital user experience (e.g. websites, intranets, applications, software).
There have been studies conducted, theories put forward, discussions and research has been undertaken – as a result of which there are now several formal definitions of User Experience that co-exist.
Formal Definitions of User Experience (UX)
The six core disciplines of Peter Boersma’s User Experience T-Model:-
- Information Architecture
- Interaction design
- Visual design
When a UX person has a fairly well balanced set of the six disciplines, they have a broad understanding of all the disciplines and as such they are known as a UX Generalist (see diagram below). Each UX person will be different as to the weighting of the disciplines.
Many of today’s User Experience professionals started out their careers with a specialty in one of the disciplines. This becomes their specialty due to their depth of knowledge and they’re known as a UX Specialist in that discipline. They have some knowledge of other the other five UX disciplines. The example below shows this for a UX Specialist in Content.
The T-shaped UX practitioner is a hybrid of a generalist and specialist. They will have broad knowledge in all the disciplines and have deep knowledge in at least one, if not two of the disciplines. They combine depth and breadth and I’ve found that they are usually the more experienced UX professionals.
UX professionals and the skills they have generally fall into these three types. Each of the types has different levels of knowledge in each of the six disciplines. As an organization, you need to think about which of the UX types is best for your needs, but having a UX generalist on board is always a good place to start, bringing in specialist skills as and when required.
Why you need User Experience
It is very likely that every person reading this article has had an interaction with a product or service that doesn’t work the way you expect or that doesn’t quite meet your needs. Think back to the time, and how it made you feel. Frustrated? Confused? Stupid? Angry?
When your product or interface doesn’t work the way your users expect it to, these are some of the feelings that they experience. Generally your users are your customers and as such, any of these emotions are the last thing you want them to experience when engaging with your business.