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Usability versus User Experience

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By definition, usability is all about developing products efficiently, effectively and to the satisfaction of the customer. However, these three properties should not only be applied to products, but should moreover be extended to services and processes, to create and design holistic experiences.

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The area of User Experience has tapped into this approach and puts furthermore an emphasis on including all customer processes that lead up to and follow up on the usage of a product in the design process. User Experience comprises various industries and areas. If I had to pin User Experience to three key topics, these would be the following:

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Definition, Understanding, Communication

In order to comprehensively prepare and design products and processes, I divide the user experience of products and processes in three phases: the definition phase, the communication phase and the phase of understanding.

Products and services need to offer more than being average – they should provide the user with an experience. This includes the design and the emotion before, during and after any interaction with the product or service.

Example: The purchase of a bouquet of flowers for Mother’s Day. Usability focuses on the website – surfing the web, selecting within the set of possible choices, making one’s way through the purchase process and ending up on the order confirmation page.

User Experience takes it one step further in looking at the processes before and after these activities. Is there a flyer that will promote the website? What does the primary in-store contact in a store look like, that promotes the website? Are there any marketing measures like an online promotion? The area of user experience looks at the entire journey, until the actual product has arrived at its final destination, taking also the transportation and packaging into account.

All topics and areas form part of the area of user experience and alter it. Thence, user experience is a very broad field. Taking it one step further and comparing user experience now to the concept of customer experience, we learn that here, an even more holistic approach is applicable.

One small part of my book: THE REASON TO BELIEVE – Published in September 2015 by SPRINGER