If you are interested in digital design you probably have heard about UX multiple times, don’t you? Now, anybody who’s been around the usability or the human-computer interaction area will be aware that UX has become perhaps the major buzzword when employing anybody. So, in the past, you might have got a job in interaction design or as a usability engineer. Now what you will see more than anything is that people ask for “UX designer”.
Now, very often what employers mean by that is exactly the same. They want you to include the same thing. So, in the past, if you were designing interactions, you would think about UX. If u were asked to design a user experience you would think about usability. But the fact that the name has become dominant tells you something about a change in emphasis. And so, whereas it used to be a minor aspect of the role of designing interfaces and designing interactions, now it’s become one of the major roles.
The question why UX matters was asked by Apple, Amazon, Google or Facebook. It’s now why people often go to a computer system. They want it to make them feel things. They want it to be part of excitement or interest or basically emotion in general. You might be talking to a loved one over a video channel or you might be playing a game on Facebook.
We remember the first mobile phones were like bricks. It was almost like holding a book to your ear. Now, we have an iPhone. The first mobile phones were about communication, wanting to be connected with people. And, actually, if you see satellite phones today, they’re still pretty much like chunky things. Whereas the iPhone is very much about being an iPhone user, about the sleekness of it, about the design of it.
Did you know that during the early phone era people would have fake phones because they couldn’t afford a real phone. So, they could pull it out on the train and have it sitting there, and people would think, “Oh my goodness! There’s an important person, having a mobile phone.” Those fake phones were about the fact that a phone said something about this person was.
Emotion is part of being human. It’s not just part of our technological experience of being human; it’s part of being human.
Without emotion in many ways, we don’t exist fully. And that’s sort of evident when things go wrong and people have accident or illnesses which damage their emotional being
One of the early standards that mentioned usability was ISO 9241. And it talked about three crucial issues for user interfaces.
One of them was “Effectiveness”.
Does it do the right thing? Does it get things done that are important?
The second was “Efficiency”.
Does it do that with a minimum effort — the minimum mental effort, the minimum physical effort? Or is it taking extraneous efforts that are unnecessary?
The third was “Satisfaction”.
Does it make feel good? Do you feel happy having used this system or used this piece of software?
The last standard was is often missed entirely. And it’s all about emotion. And so, it was often ignored. What’s now happened is that’s become perhaps in some ways more important than the other two. Emotions are important because it’s good to feel emotion. But also, emotions affect the bottom line in business.
If your employees are happy, they tend to be more productive. So, if you are designing a production line or an office or wherever the environment if you can have software and systems that make people feel good, they’ll tend to work better. And certainly, you want your customers to feel happy because they are the people who are usually going to buy your goods. So, if you’ve not made your customers happy, they don’t buy anything.