Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Envisioning the Future of User Experience

The role of the UX professional in the future ...

"What is the future of user experience as a practice, as a philosophy of design, and as a research topic?

What are the challenges and opportunities facing UX practitioners as we strive to better integrate our methods, processes, and philosophies into traditional ideation, design, and development processes?

These are big questions. User experience happens whether someone has designed the elements influencing a user’s experience thoughtfully or accidentally. Anywhere there’s a user interface, there’s an interaction waiting to happen and a user experience about to occur.

I intend to explore these areas of inquiry in several ways. I’ll write about particular topics relating to the questions I’ve posed and carry out interviews and discussions with a variety of people in our field—from the visionaries to the UX managers and individual contributors who daily create and validate the user experiences of products and services.

One other thing: I’m going to try my absolute best to avoid the platitudinous, self-important pontification that can afflict commentators in our field. Feel free to slap me down if you think I’m straying close to this line—or cross it. Okay, enough with the meta-stuff.

Here are just a few questions I think the practitioners in our field should be asking themselves and that I intend to explore through this column with your help and assistance.

The User Experience: Is It All in People’s Heads?
Isn’t the user experience something that really occurs only between the ears? Certain popular definitions imply this, but never explicitly state it. Here’s one straw-man definition from Wikipedia: “the overall experience and satisfaction a user has when using a product or system.”

If the user experience is all in the mind, can we really design it? Aren’t we just influencing the user experience rather than designing it? At first blush, this question seems overly academic, but maybe it’s worth exploring. Can we really work on something if it’s not entirely clear to us what’s under our control and what is not?"    (Continued via UXmatters)    [Usability Resources]

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