Although User Experience (UX) stays much spoken about, not everybody defines it right and understands what it actually does. User Experience is something additional that every product has, since even without it the product is already complete. A good has the self-sufficient rules of use. However, UX comes in when a client is interacting with the product, making it not just about the characteristics of the good, but the connection between the user and the product.
To provoke further reflections on what the User Experience entails, take a look at the map provided by ExperienceDynamics. [picture]
What are the Elements of User Experience then?
When we’re talking about the elements of user experience, we are first of all admitting to the fact that there is a surface of the website/product/good created explicitly for the user, as well as the deeper content, which makes the information cohesive and meaningful. Jesse James Garrett described those two broad categories in several key words: Surface – Skeleton – Structure – Scope – Strategy, all present in UX and dependent on each other. It can be said that with each element starting from the left we’re going deeper into the creation of a consequential product reaching the core of why it exists at all.
Looking at each and all of them
Let’s see if we can describe what each of those does and at the same time thinking about what each product is supposed to have for UX to be working. We’ll start from the bottom up.
STRATEGY: This element is very much interconnected with the strategy of your business and its deliverables. Even more it is about the needs of the user and what they really want to see in a product. Already the first element, the deepest one, shows how much the collective mind of a business is based on the contact with the user. Keep this as a pointer when developing your strategic steps.
SCOPE: This one speaks for itself very well. The scope of your project asks you exactly how much functional material you would like to include in your product. It requires you to be more specific in rephrasing your strategic steps to make your product achievable. Naming all the requirements of your project to be successful is a key answer to the scope element.
STRUCTURE: The next element starts to address the user’s interaction with the product all too clearly. This is when your vision of the well-built cohesive product comes in, where all your functional material fits together. How does your mega-useful website/good/product feel to the user? Is it intuitive or does it require a lot of mental work? All these questions are to be addressed here.
SKELETON: This element is dealing with functional design and all its smallest elements. Even the most complicated product, e.g. a website, can have the clearest visual representation due to great navigation and excellent user understanding. Skeleton emphasizes how the product looks and whether it’s easy to use for a first-time viewer. The smart design of your product will ensure its adoptability, i.e. whether the users will want to go further with the product, among hundreds others.
SURFACE: The last element has the hardest task: combining all the previous elements into a swift and attractive to eye interface. All the questions concerning Web and Graphic Design, Typography, Layouts, Style, Colors and Shapes will go here. All of these will have to be consistent with your branding picture and the emphasis of your uniqueness.
Creating a fulfilling product with appreciated User Experience seems like a lot of work, but these elements should help guide you well. We don’t need to tell you that User Testing is inherent to User Experience, so make sure you account for flaws and gaps before you launch your perfect product.