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What is User Experience? #ux


I’ve just finished watching this “UX Hacking: An Evening with Don Norman” over on Youtube.com. Around 90 minutes long Don answers audience questions at the Stanford Igniters meetup. I’d sure love to see Don dropping into one of my local meetups! At about 22 minutes in he defines what User Experience means to him, in short he says:

“User Experience is about everything, it’s a system to look at the whole damn thing. It’s not any single element, it’s not designing a website as many think.”

Norman uses the Apple benchmark and cleverly asks the audience which owners of Apple devices have kept the packaging it came in? And of those who would normally keep packaging from purchases? The point he’s making is that Apple have spent time thinking about the complete end-to-end experience. It’s not just the software that’s beautiful and easy to use, the hardware is powerful and beautiful to look at, the packaging is easy to open, sturdy, good looking and something you want to keep!¬†Everything about the experience from the advertising, the launches, the shopping and the after sales care is excellent. It’s not just an experience to enjoy it’s something people want to be part of.

The challenge for product people

But when it comes to looking at your own product it can be hard to pry yourself away from the focus of your attention, your shiny new thing that has taken all your blood sweat and tears for the last few years. Believe me we’re experiencing that all the time! But we do have the advantage of Skore and here’s how it can help you now, whether you are just starting out with a new product or service, or you have one that’s mature and want to think about the wider experience.

How to see the bigger picture

Start with your product or service, in one What box describe what you do when you use it and use the Why box (So that…) to describe the value that you believe it delivers to the customer. Place this in the centre of the page and then consider the workflow of a typical user, what would they be doing immediately before they went to your product? And what would they be doing before that? What would they do after they had used it and after that? You’ll best be doing this with atleast one other person, some of your users ideally.

Capture a series of What boxes both before and after and discuss the Why boxes, why do you do these things or what do you hope to achieve from them? You’ll know you’re onto something when the conversation gets excited or lasts a long time. Then it’s probably time to look at the detail of the What box that everyone got excited about.

See an example of Skore here.

You may need to create several scenarios, depending on what your product does and how many different types of user you have. This will allow you to consider the entry into your product and the exit, does it make sense now that you see the bigger picture? Is it obvious to the user, is it a tool that they would instinctively pick up? Are there further opportunities for you to capture the attention of the user earlier, or even extend the product to solve other problems?

As Colin always says, “I need to picture it in my workflow, it has to make sense so that the choice to use it goes away, it becomes something you just do.” Another angle is to look at the buying experience of the user, at the centre of the Skore you place the product and its value and think about the steps users go through that leads them to decide to buy it and what they do afterward. visualising it in this way will give you insights that may well have been hidden before.

3 things to remember

User experience is about more than just the interaction with your product – it’s about how people find it, why they pick it up and use it, and how they feel after they have used it.

Skore is a simple and quick way to visualise the user experience – this makes it easier to discuss, identify opportunities to improve and discover issues that may have been hidden.

Include real users – As they will have the real experience you want to know about, also everyone is different, you may be a user of your own product the person sitting next to you is likely to have slightly different needs and desires, you want to have a broad understanding of your user base.


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