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    What is user experience?

    What is user experience?

    User experience is a buzz word which is used frequently but not all persons are clear as to what the exact meaning of this term is. Explaining usability to business people is already difficult, because how a product can be effectively, efficiently, and satisfactorily used, is not easy to quantify. User experience is therefore even more difficult to explain. Usability depends on the user first: knowing them through customer research, designing for them, and testing the product with real users.

    When you expand usability techniques beyond the product, to consider factors such as advertising, fulfillment, and customer care, you are in the user experience zone. Bringing a user focus to the traditional business areas of customer service, marketing, and sales (acceptance of product and want to use the product) can optimize all the business practices.

    So, what is the opposite of user experience? Developers that make decisions not based on customer needs, but to serve their own internal processes. Designs based on what the design team prefers personally. Poor customer service. A marketing team that does not know its customers, and a sales force that speaks the wrong sales language to potential clients.


    User experience definition

    There are many definitions for user experience (UX). Based on a pool of 27 definitions from literature, I have compiled what I regard to be an inclusive and comprehensive definition which also includes aspects from ISO 9241-210 (2010).

    UX includes all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products. The first requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer (user). This is followed by simplicity and elegance that produce products that are a joy to own and a joy to use. True user experience goes far beyond giving customers (users) what they say they want, or providing checklist features. In order to achieve high-quality user experience in a company’s offerings there must be a seamless merging of the services of multiple disciplines, including engineering, marketing, graphical and industrial design, and interface design. In the Usability field, this experience is usually defined in terms of ease-of-use. However, the experience encompasses more than merely function and flow, but the understanding compiled through all of the senses.

    User experience highlights the experiential, affective, meaningful and valuable aspects of human-computer interaction (HCI) and product ownership, but it also covers a person’s perceptions of the practical aspects such as utility, ease of use and efficiency of the system. User experience is subjective in nature, because it is about an individual’s performance, feelings and thoughts about the system. User experience is dynamic, because it changes over time as the circumstances change and must be measured in terms of not only the product but also the readiness of the users as well as the impact of the product on the users once deployed.

    UX evaluation methods

    There are currently some 96+ documented UX evaluation methods that focus on finding out how users feel about the system that you want to evaluate. These methods are all currently in use in various circumstances. The methods are categorized to reflect the following:

    Decision criteria for use of different methods


    Study type

    • Field studies
    • Lab studies
    • Online studies
    • Questionnaire

    Development phase

    • Concepts
    • Early prototypes
    • Functional prototypes
    • Products on market

    Studied period of experience

    • Before usage
    • Snapshots during interaction
    • An experience (of a task or activity)
    • Long-term UX

    Evaluator / Info provider

    • UX experts
    • One user at a time
    • Groups of users
    • Pairs of users


    • Qualitative
    • Quantitative


    • Web services
    • PC software
    • Mobile software
    • Hardware designs


    • Trained researcher
    • Special equipment

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