A users’ requirements defines the experience they have with a device

What is User Experience, how do you define it? I’ve been thinking about this for some time now. For years I’ve been trying to fully understand it so that I can confidently tell our clients what it is in a nutshell.

Just to set the scene, this discovery is mainly around mobile phones devices, but could be applied to all digital devices. Debatable…

I was having a debate with one of my colleague about why the iPhone 3 is a better device than the BlackBerry Curve. Just to lay things straight, I have the iPhone and my colleague has a BlackBerry.

The debate started off with ‘can your phone do this’ and ‘can your phone do that’ and persistently continued with both of us pointing at our phone or shoving it in each others face. For some time we both adamantly argued that our choice of device was a better choice than the others. The constant ‘mine is better than yours’ bickering went on for some time till I stopped her. And asked, “So tell me, why did you get a BlackBerry instead of an iPhone?” Her answer was simple and to the point. “It costs me R100 per month and the network provider gave me a free phone” (BlackBerry Curve) she said.

Now for her, this was a decrease in monthly payments, and an upgrade in device. I stopped and thought about her answer for a sec. “So let me get this right, you’re now paying less and you also got a new phone”, I asked her. “Yes” she answered. “How?” was my immediate reaction. She continued to explain to me that she was looking to get a new phone, saw the BlackBerry and thought it was an upgrade to her current phone. Now that she’s been using it for some time she’s fully sold on the device, what it can do, the services it offers blah blah blah.

My reasoning behind getting the iPhone was also simple. I wanted a phone/device that enabled me to; check my mail, listen to music, watch movies, take pictures, play games, take notes, browse the internet, store passwords, download apps, keep up to date with my social networks…

So, if you compare my requirements to her requirements, they are TOTALLY different. I wanted a ‘it can do everything’ device, and she was looking to spend less on her monthly contract and upgrade her phone.

So where does that leave us? I love my device and equally, so does my colleague.

Is the iPhone better than the BlackBerry? My answer would be, for who?

User Experience Design

At the heart of our approach is the recognition that a good user experience is the key goal to a successful digital solution. This can be measured by how quickly and easily a user achieves their goals and objectives. We determine the common tasks or scenarios users have in mind when visiting a product. In a market, which is quickly moving towards parity of products, the most powerful driver of loyalty amongst existing customers is their experiences with a brand.

As user experience is a subjective feeling, it cannot actually be “designed”. Instead, we design for the experience a user has with a product, enabling the desired brand experience of the full solution. The scope of user experience design is directed at affecting “all aspects of the user’s interaction with a product: how it is perceived, learned, and used.”

We achieve this through a technique called UCD (User-Centred Design)