The ultimate UX Venn diagram

I found this in an old note book from a few years ago. It’s my drawing, but I probably stole it from someone more clever than me. I do remember at the time thinking “that’s great! I’ll keep that.” And I did.

It looks smart, simple and pretty cool but is it actually true? Does it even make sense?

Looking at the overlap it suggests that ‘UX heaven’ is achieved when User Goals and Business Goals are the same. But are user goals and business goals ever the same? I’m guessing in the majority of cases, the answer to that would be no. Lets take for example a cooking and recipe app. A user goal might be ‘show me something tasty and simple to cook tonight’, whereas a business goal might be ‘get users to share a recipe on Twitter’.

Is it the word ‘goals’ that’s throwing it off? If we replaced ‘goals’ with ‘tasks’, maybe this would help. We could define a user task as ‘let me find recipes to cook tonight based on the ingredients in my fridge’. So then the associated business task could actually be ‘let users find recipes to cook tonight based on the ingredients in the user’s fridge’.

Which means that perhaps business tasks should always be the same as the user tasks. This is certainly true for the overall task of the app — make the app intuitive, easy and simple so users can get on and do the thing they’re supposed to do.

But just because they’re the same, it doesn’t mean that achieving UX heaven is easy. In fact, it’s really bloody difficult. And therefore my (possibly stolen) diagram isn’t quite right. And it’s probably more like this.

The less sexy but probably more accurate 2017 UX Venn

But that just doesn’t make for such a smart looking diagram…

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