By Heather Fox
The term ‘user-experience’ was at one time revolutionary, state-of-the-art term when coined in the early 1990’s by then Apple Fellow Don Norman. And, before he even came up with the distinct term to describe such a complex interaction, computer and technology pioneers had already been discussing the need to move the focus from solely the technology specialist to the average daily user. Don Norman put the idea into words we could relate to.
He said, “I invented the term because I thought human interface and usability were too narrow. I wanted to cover all aspects of the person’s experience with the system including industrial design graphics, the interface, the physical interaction and the manual. Since then the term has spread widely, so much so that it is starting to lose its meaning.”
We couldn’t agree more. Once, it was a succinct way to describe joining human beings with technology. Now, it seems a bit over used and also a little cold and technologizing relative to the idea of what it really means. We think it’s important to remember that ‘user’ = ‘human’ and ‘experience’= ‘feeling’.
So, how do we make this ‘human feeling’ collective and not subjective? And, if you noticed, we didn’t say ‘objective’ and not subjective. Being ‘objective’ simply means ‘unbiased’ or ‘impartial’. When we are designing for human beings, we are designing for ourselves as well, right? Designing for our collective experience, something universal is the ultimate goal.
So how do we do this?