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User experience (UX or UE) is a person's emotions and attitudes about using a particular product, system or service. It includes the practical, experiential, affective, meaningful, and valuable aspects of human–computer interaction and product ownership. Additionally, it includes a person's perceptions of system aspects such as utility, ease of use, and efficiency. User experience may be subjective in nature to the degree that it is about individual perception and thought with respect to a product or system. User experience varies dynamically, constantly modifying over time due to changing usage circumstances. Simplified, user experience is about how a user interacts with, and experiences, a product.
The international standard on ergonomics of human-system interaction, ISO 9241-210, defines user experience as "a person's perceptions and responses that result from the use or anticipated use of a product, system or service". According to the ISO definition, user experience includes all the users' emotions, beliefs, preferences, perceptions, physical and psychological responses, behaviors and accomplishments that occur before, during, and after use. The ISO also lists three factors that influence user experience: the system, the user, and the context of use.
Note 3 of the standard hints that usability addresses aspects of user experience, e.g. "usability criteria can be used to assess aspects of user experience". The standard does not go further in clarifying the relation between user experience and usability. Clearly, the two are overlapping concepts, with usability including pragmatic aspects (getting a task done) and user experience focusing on users’ feelings stemming both from pragmatic and hedonic aspects of the system. Many practitioners use the terms interchangeably. The term "usability" pre-dates the term "user experience". Part of the reason the terms are often used interchangeably is that, as a practical matter, a user will, at a minimum, require sufficient usability to accomplish a task while the feelings of the user may be less important, even to the user themselves. Since usability is about getting a task done, aspects of user experience like information architecture and user interface can help or hinder a user's experience. If a website has "bad" information architecture and a user has a difficult time finding what they are looking for, then a user will not have an effective, efficient, and satisfying search.
Early developments in user experience can be traced back to the machine age that includes the 19th and early 20th centuries. Inspired by the machine age intellectual framework, a quest for improving assembly processes to increase production efficiency and output led to the development of major technological advancements, such as mass production of high-volume goods on moving assembly lines, high-speed printing press, large hydroelectric power production plants, and radio technology to name a few.
Frederick Winslow Taylor and Henry Ford were in the forefront of exploring new ways to make human labor more efficient and productive. Taylor’s pioneering research into the efficiency of interactions between workers and their tools is the earliest example that resembles today’s user experience fundamentals.
The term user experience was brought to wider knowledge by Donald Norman in the mid-1990s. He never intended the term "user experience" to be applied only to the affective aspects of usage. A review of his earlier work  suggests that the term "user experience" was used to signal a shift to include affective factors, along with the pre-requisite behavioral concerns, which had been traditionally considered in the field. Many usability practitioners continue to research and attend to affective factors associated with end-users, and have been doing so for years, long before the term "user experience" was introduced in the mid-1990s. In an interview in 2007, Norman discusses the widespread use of the term "user experience" and its imprecise meaning as a consequence thereof.
Several developments affected the rise of interest in the user experience
- Recent advances in mobile, ubiquitous, social, and tangible computing technologies have moved human-computer interaction into practically all areas of human activity. This has led to a shift away from usability engineering to a much richer scope of user experience, where users' feelings, motivations, and values are given as much, if not more, attention than efficiency, effectiveness and basic subjective satisfaction (i.e. the three traditional usability metrics.)
- In website design, it was important to combine the interests of different stakeholders: marketing, branding, visual design, and usability. Marketing and branding people needed to enter the interactive world where usability was important. Usability people needed to take marketing, branding, and aesthetic needs into account when designing websites. User experience provided a platform to cover the interests of all stakeholders: making web sites easy to use, valuable, and effective for visitors. This is why several early user experience publications focus on website user experience.
The field of user experience represents an expansion and extension of the field of usability, to include the holistic perspective of how a person feels about using a system. The focus is on pleasure and value as well as on performance. The exact definition, framework, and elements of user experience are still evolving.
User experience of an interactive product or a website is usually measured by a number of methods, including questionnaires, focus groups, observed usability tests and other methods. A freely available questionnaire (available in several languages) is the User Experience Questionnaire (UEQ). The development and validation of this questionnaire is described in a computer science essay published in 2008.
Google Ngram Viewer shows wide use of the term starting in the 1930s., "He suggested that more follow-up in the field would be welcomed by the user, and would be a means of incorporating the results of user's experience into the design of new machines." Use of the term in relation to computer software also pre-dates Norman.
Influences on user experience
Many factors can influence a user's experience with a system. To address the variety, factors influencing user experience have been classified into three main categories: user's state and previous experience, system properties, and the usage context (situation). Understanding representative users, working environments, interactions and emotional reactions help in designing the system.
Momentary emotion or overall user experience
Single experiences influence the overall user experience: the experience of a key click affects the experience of typing a text message, the experience of typing a message affects the experience of text messaging, and the experience of text messaging affects the overall user experience with the phone. The overall user experience is not simply a sum of smaller interaction experiences, because some experiences are more salient than others. Overall user experience is also influenced by factors outside the actual interaction episode: brand, pricing, friends' opinions, reports in media, etc.
One branch in user experience research focuses on emotions. This includes momentary experiences during interaction: designing affective interaction and evaluating emotions. Another branch is interested in understanding the long-term relation between user experience and product appreciation. The industry sees good overall user experience with a company's products as critical for securing brand loyalty and enhancing the growth of the customer base. All temporal levels of user experience (momentary, episodic, and long-term) are important, but the methods to design and evaluate these levels can be very different.
- International Organization for Standardization (2009). Ergonomics of human-system interaction - Part 210: Human-centered design for interactive systems (formerly known as 13407). ISO F±DIS 9241-210:2009.
- "User experience definitions". Archived from the original on 13 January 2012.
- Law, E.; Roto, V.; Hassenzahl, M.; Vermeeren, A.; Kort, J. (4–9 April 2009). "Understanding, Scoping and Defining User Experience: A Survey Approach". Proceedings of Human Factors in Computing Systems conference. CHI’09. Boston, MA, USA. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 September 2017.
- Donald Norman, Jim Miller, Austin Henderson: What You See, Some of What's in the Future, And How We Go About Doing It: HI at Apple Computer Archived 20 October 2017 at the Wayback Machine. Proceedings of CHI 1995, Denver, Colorado, USA
- Buley, Leah. 2013, The User Experience Team of One: A Research and Design Survival Guide. Rosenfield Media, LLC, USA.
- "Peter in Conversation with Don Norman About UX & Innovation". Archived from the original on 7 December 2013.
- ISO 9241-11:1998, Ergonomics of Human System Interaction: Guidance on usability
- "COST - Towards the Integration of Transectorial IT Design and Evaluation (End date: November 2013)". www.cost.eu. Archived from the original on 14 March 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
- Fleming, J. 1998, Web Navigation: Designing the User Experience Archived 10 August 2017 at the Wayback Machine. O'Reilly & Associates, Inc, USA.
- Garrett, J. 2003, Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web Archived 3 December 2016 at the Wayback Machine. New Riders Press, USA.
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- Berry, D. 2000, The user experience - The iceberg analogy of usability. Technical library of the IBM Ease of Use Team. "The user experience". October 2000. Archived from the original on 15 August 2010. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
- "UEQ - User Experience Questionnaire". www.ueq-online.org. Archived from the original on 1 October 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
- Laugwitz, B., Held, T. & Schrepp, M. (2008). Construction and evaluation of a user experience questionnaire Archived 11 September 2017 at the Wayback Machine. In: Holzinger, A. (Ed.): USAB 2008, LNCS 5298, S. 63-76.
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- Hassenzahl, M. & Tractinsky, N. 2006, User Experience – a Research Agenda Archived 20 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Behaviour and Information Technology, Vol. 25, No. 2, March–April 2006, pp. 91-97
- Forlizzi, J., Battarbee, K. 2004, Understanding Experience in Interactive Systems Archived 31 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Proceedings of DIS2004, 1–4 August 2004, Cambridge, USA.
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