The future has always been HUX

UX and CX are dead — long live Holistic User Experience.

Everyone loves a snappy acronym (don’t they?). At their best they help to crystallize complex ideas or disciplines into easy to remember shorthand. At their worst they become lazy, meaningless business bollo….

I confess that when I replied to Chris Jackson’s thoughtful and legitimate enquiry on Twitter it was with my tongue in my cheek.

But, is the idea of thinking holistically about the way we design websites, apps, shops, products and even entire businesses such a silly idea? No, and it’s not even remotely new thinking. As the quote at the top from Mr Easyjet points out, the way users judge a company is how they encounter it at every level.

You might have a beautiful website that has a killer UX on mobile and a tightly optimised E-commerce UI, but if the CX of the returns or tech support is shabby, the user will forget the joy of the design and resent the poor overall experience of the company.

“The best way to market your business is by the manner in which you go about your business”

Branson was nowhere near the first to understand that customer experience is made up of everything your company does and how it does it, but Virgin are one of those companies that really understand how to carry their brand through from graphic design to staff behaviour — their HUX if you will.

So to answer Chris’ original question less pithily, yes design has become commoditised and fragmented and too often focuses one or two ways the customer experiences a company or its products.

Every designer from typographers to software engineers will have a quiver full of anecdotes when great design was killed by bad execution. Dootrix recently wrote that ‘It’s not good enough to make something work well, it has to work beautifully’, and its main point is that you have to use all of your brain in any design project. But of course that means that you have to think of all of the human users at every stage too.

“Good design has always been about simplicity and clarity.”

In all great design, from the best software to IKEA instruction manuals, complexity has been beautifully and thoughtful reduced down to its simplest form to serve a clear purpose. Contemporary thinking about ‘brand’ is all focussed on purpose, and of course any engineer will say that’s what their discipline is focussed on too.

So whilst acronyms like UI, UX and CX are the ultimate in simplicity, they are very far from being the paragons of clarity. They are actually divisive when the design process has to think holistically.

The poncy dictionary definition of Holistic is ‘ …. the belief that the parts of something are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.’

In the Dootrix office we’ve been discussing the difference between UX and CX (where does one stop and the other begin?) and of course we’ve come to noisy agreement that all that matters is that what we build products that work beautifully for everyone, at every stage.

So while I doubt that it’ll gain worldwide usage anytime soon, I’ll suggest that we think, design and build with a HUX mentality to serve a simple and clear purpose.

Written by Tim LeRoy

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