Markus Kugler


User Experience – Usability & flashy Design?

Needs, Usage Requirements, Requirements, Needs & Features - call it what you want, but involve the users!

We, other agencies and, increasingly, our customers agree: User Experience (UX) of digital applications is extremely important and a differentiating factor. Everyone agrees on this. But it seems less clear what it actually means when an application has a positive UX.

Ask your colleagues what they understand by UX. Let me speculate:

  • Pleasure and/or fun to use
  • Usability! Very important!
  • Cool design and a little usability
  • Apple halt (not Windows! Also not Windows 8!)

Title of the coeno presentation on the topic at the EurolTV 2013.

Okay, that was a bit polemical. But what I want to say is that the perception of what constitutes a positive UX is usually much narrower than the actual definition. Also narrower than it should be when working on the UX of a digital application.

A good usability is rightly seen as a central component of a positive UX, the usage should be free of problems on the levels of efficiency and effectiveness and it should be satisfying.

Also the joy of use plays a role, no question. Whereby the boundaries to the efficiency axis of usability (the "how") are fluid. Design is also important, but here too, it is actually an (extended) dimension of usability.

So what is user experience? We would not be in Germany if there were no efforts to pack this term into an ISO standard. Not yet, but the triad of

  • expectations of an application
  • a good usability during use and
  • the evaluation of the use afterwards

are central to this. Thus, the term is to be understood in a much broader sense than just usability with extended dimensions (joy & design).

So how do you manage to conceive, design and technically develop software that has a positive user experience?

Simple answer: the software must meet the expectations of the users, have a good usability and later be positively evaluated by users in its use. Actually clearly so far. Or exactly not.

Positive UX: a hook behind every dimension - not only in usability.

To do this, the expectations of the users must be known.  The how - i.e. the efficient and satisfying fulfillment of goals, we professionals can all do, but the requirements are usually defined by the customer. And this in very different ways and unfortunately very often without involving the user in this process. This inevitably leads to deficits on the effectiveness level of a digital application - and to the expectations (the 1st part of the UX definition) being managed incorrectly.

From my point of view there is a way to avoid these deficits, how exactly I would like to describe the following contributions of this multipartite. So it is worthwhile to have a look here again.

Markus Kugler

Managing Director & Usability Engineer


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