July 21, 2021
User Experience (UX) is no longer a fancy new term in the digital industry. The discipline has gained its recognition and been adopted by companies of all sizes for its ability to guide them towards successful product strategy.
User Experience deals with many aspects of the business, as it encompasses processes that deal with the different steps of product development. The UX process starts as a project starts and serves as a guide to ensure that the product development is continuous, iterative and focused on the user. UX also relies on the different skills and knowledge of its multidisciplinary teams to be able to address the entire user experience.
This makes it quite jargon-heavy which may lead to vague interpretation of key terms and misunderstanding. In our experience, the terms Usability and user experience are often victims of such lack of clarity and are often used interchangeably. This creates confusion and can hinder the smooth product development. We don’t want that. We want to be on the same page with our clients because we know it’s the best way towards a successful project. Let’s do that by defining each term.
A digital product is first and foremost a solution to a problem. It is designed and developed to help its user achieve a certain goal. That goal can be anything from a practical service like ordering something online, to fulfilling an emotional aspect like social communication.
When we talk about Usability we are interested in the functionality of a product. A product is usable when the user can successfully and easily achieve their goals using the product. As covered by NN/g, Usability is assessed by looking at different attributes.
User Experience is the umbrella term used for all the concepts and methods that go about discovering and analyzing a problem, designing solutions for it, and making sure that they live up to a user’s needs and expectations. The goal is to satisfy all aspects intersecting with the user from functionality to Usability, and even aesthetics. It’s everything that contributes to the perceived experience that someone goes through with regards to a product. Does it target a problem I face? Does it solve my goal? Does it talk to me in a way that I understand and appreciate? Does it feel easy to use? Does it appeal to me? Do I like using it? Does it make my life (a little bit) better?
So if we take a step back, we realize that Usability is actually a component of User Experience. It is a vital component that contributes to the foundation for a good User Experience. Without Usability, the end product is likely to fail meeting users’ needs and expectations. The goal of User Experience is to gather all the components that make up a successful product in one harmonious process. To truly benefit from the UX process, it is important to acknowledge all of its parts and invest time and effort into each. Apart from Usability, another component of UX that is worth delving deep into and defining is User Interface (UI). Look out for a future article on the topic!