What User Experience (UX) Really Means

Don Norman on User Experience Design UX

Listen to what Donald Norman, the inventor of the term User Experience really meant when he created the term User Experience (UX).


Once upon a time a very long time ago, I was at Apple, and you know, we said the experience of using these computers is weak.

The experience when you first discover it, when you see it in the store, when you buy it, when you oh, can’t fit into the cars in this great big box that doesn’t fit into the car, and when you finally do get it home; opening the box up and ooh it looks scary: I don’t know if I dare put this computer together — all of that is user experience;

it’s everything that touches upon your experience with the product. And it may not even be near the product. It may be when you’re telling somebody else about it.

That’s what we meant when we devised the term “user experience” and set up what we called the User Experience Architect’s Office at Apple to try to enhance things.

Now, Apple was already pretty good so we were starting with a good product, making it even better. Today that term has been horribly misused. It is used by people to say “I’m a user experience designer, I design websites, so I design apps” and they have no clues to what they’re doing and they think the experiences that simple device the website or the app or who knows what.

No, it’s everything: it’s the way you experience the world, it’s the way you experience your life, that’s the way you experience the service, or — yeah an app or a computer system — but it’s a system that’s everything.

Got it?