A new way to see User Experience Design

User Experience (UX) has becoming a very popular topic as people talk more recent years: on one side, it is because of the advanced technology revolution, on the other side, there is a large increase in human psychological needs.

For a long time, I have an vague impression and understanding about its meaning. Everybody is talking about UX? But What is UX? is It the same as Interface design (ID), Interaction design (IXD) and ergonomics? Is it a very huge but fancy or showy word just for marketing?

As a UX designer started in midway, I always had a doubt in my mind, however I am also always sure that there must be at least one thing which is different from the others. This question bothered me until I saw a speech of Mr. XIN Xianggang who is one of my first “teachers” who initiate me to the design world. I would like to share his thought in Experience Design and hope it could give us some inspiration.

He once had a lecture on EPI Frame from UX to EX which deepens our understanding of experience design. Different design objects have different design attributes. A cup has its form, materials, color, etc. While a website has its log in, content, navigation, etc. When we consider an interaction, we have to know its concept and its attributes to start from. Everything has its attributes to distinguish itself from others and its criteria to qualify it.

There are two figures below from the lecture: the top to show each design attributes, and the bottom to show their criteria.

ID = Interface Design; IXD = Interaction Design; UXD = User eXperience Design
Image Source: An experience EPI: based on UX attributes of Internet Products by ZHAO Wanru, XIN Xiangyang, 2015
Good User Experience allows competition advantages for activity based design.

A large number of companies are treating Experience as a strategy to differentiate from other interactive products. Usually, people treat Experience as Principles such as ease of use, intuitive, simple, user friendly and so on. While, is there another way to interpret Experience?

Experience can be designed.

As XIN Xiangyang said, we have an experience with special person and in a special occasion. Like we have a nice day in Disneyland, “we spent money for just a happy day and that happy day is designed”. This happy day is not only designed by Disneyland designer, but also by the visitors themselves. Now, it comes out a new word Co-creation, which means that the people, the user who creates experience for themselves together with the service and experience creator. The product should serve as a platform which enables us to personalise our own experience. Therefore, our experience can be designed by ourselves together with the product design team.

Every experience is unique.

Everybody has a different experience because of our different educational background and interests, different people we are with.

Experience is a higher level need (figure below), and the higher their needs are, the more differentiation they are.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Nowadays, the meaning of design has changed. Design is not a world only for some specialists, everyone can be a designer in their life, a meaningful and memorable birthday party for lovers, or making a trip plan for holiday. Experience is not a new fancy world, it has always integrated in our daily life, and is waiting for people to discover and design.

Having a basic understanding of Experience Design, then as designers, from where we can design an experience, and what can an experience be composed of?

I will talk about it next time.