What is UX?

Some prefer broad and inclusive definitions of User Experience (UX) design. Others (a few) claim The One True Meaning of it, usually in support of self interest. Both extremes muddy the semantic waters. Language best serves us when terms are both alive (evolving), and generally agreed. Here are a few collected definitions, for consensus, one more point of view, and the important career management perspective.

The origins and meaning of “User Experience / UX Design” may seem a bit murky at first glance, to many not already familiar with it. One early use of it, without “user” prefixed, appeared in the nascent “Advance for Design” meetings organized by Clement Mok et al, under AIGA sponsorship, between 1998 and 2000. Mention is made, too, in the first post to uxmatters.com, of Don Norman using the term at Apple as early as 1993.

Though implying a Gestalt approach to interactive media design, that is, using a collection of elements to form a pattern which is greater than the sum of its parts, UX Design also puts special emphasis on the human side of human-computer interaction, and its affective results, rather than on the mere usability—the human performance aspect—of computer interface design, which traditionally relates to the field of ergonomics.

Usability is of course one of the primary concerns of the user-centric web designer, so it is easy to see how these related areas overlap, and lead to confusion, especially when no dictionary entry exists for UX Design (that I’ve seen), and people often use novel terms in various ways before understanding them well.

Another dimension of UX Design, as it related to the field of web design, is the historical one. As professional web design has evolved, and roles and responsibilities have advanced and divided, the professional web design community has had to find ways to differentiate itself from so many entering the field as amateurs, claiming the Web Designer moniker, and as web software programs began to democratize web production.

Here I attempt to provide a relevant and hopefully interesting—if maybe not universally shared—definition of UX Design, as it relates to web design in UX Defined »

Show 10 Comments
  1. Thanks for your posting about UX.
    I like your “User Experience Design Diagram” and introduced it on my blog.

    And I wanna quote your diagram in my book about UX. The book is written in korean, so I have to translate your diagram in korean.

    Could you send me a pdf version or vector format of the diagram? I’ll contact to your submission email address.

  2. The best part of the UX designer is to fuse and mix the various elements of technical standards in a proper mix to ensure that there is no ambiguity to the users while interacting with the system.

    I hope the several UX experience companies have addresses this fact and verge to follow it. i admired by go through the work of Salzer technologies and their on time effective deliverable. i believe there are numerous UX service companies that provide the same but this shows somewhat a uniqueness in their style of service.

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