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I've looked at this site for the first time today. I've checked About, the FAQ and the FAQ and searched, and I don't seem to be able to find an answer on this site.

These are the closest I can find:

Difference between UI and UX

What's the difference between UX and layout design?

usability/ux elevator pitch?

Reading the first few responses, I'm perceiving quite a difference in scope between 'user experience' as a concept and what I see discussed as 'User Experience' on this site and elsewhere, and I'm definitely interested in opinions addressing this.

Also, while I appreciate the field is broad, maybe there are some human interactions that definitely aren't UX - between two of them face-to-face, for example?

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I haven't found time to read it yet, but at the bottom of the Wikipedia entry is a link to a "Peer-reviewed definition of User Experience with commentary by Don Norman" (as well as Whitney Hess, Eric Reiss, and Mark Blythe). –  Patrick McElhaney Aug 24 '11 at 16:55

2 Answers 2

The user experience is everything imaginable that affects the senses and emotions of a user who is interacting with a thing or collection of things, usually designed for a particular purpose.

The user experience can be good or bad. It can be on many levels. It can involve many senses and evoke a range of emotions and it can considered at any level of granularity.

Our job is to improve that interaction via any and every channel we can.

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Is it significant you don't capitalise 'user experience' -- do you see a difference between this general definition and "UX" as a practice? I find it interesting you emphasise senses and emotions, which are very difficult to measure directly, whereas almost all the questions here are very much more specific - best practice for controls and other interface elements in applications. –  e100 Aug 24 '11 at 9:53
I see 'UX as a practice' being the field that considers that which I described above. There are both qualitative and quantitative aspects. Tangible areas and less tangible. Psychology, human factors and ergonomics, visual appeal and cognitive impact, and I could go on but the field of UX is as a result very broad and many people are experts on particular aspects with the field. I feel it would be wrong to try and define it in explicit terms because I'm sure I would get very many comments starting with 'what about...?' –  Roger Attrill Aug 24 '11 at 13:04
Thanks - one thing I didn't want to get out of this question was a pat definition in terms of other acronymic fields, e.g. UX = UI + HCI + GD + PR + ... –  e100 Aug 24 '11 at 13:16
I agree with this entirely. UX seems to be more of a holistic concept and practice composed of many interactions with many different things. Perhaps think of UX as a car with UI being the engine, HCI being the steering wheel and pedals, etc... where all the components come together to make each car unique in its own ways. –  Andrew Shipe Aug 25 '11 at 17:12

From Wikipedia:

User experience (UX) is about how a person feels about using a product, system or service. User experience highlights the experiential, affective, meaningful and valuable aspects of human-computer interaction and product ownership, but it also includes a person’s perceptions of the practical aspects such as utility, ease of use and efficiency of the system. User experience is subjective in nature, because it is about an individual’s feelings and thoughts about the system. User experience is dynamic, because it changes over time as the circumstances change.

To me, User Experience (UX) is the complete and holistic experience someone has with a system. Some examples:

  1. The UX of communism includes the way you feel about your job.
  2. The UX of my cell phone service includes the feel of the phone in my hand.
  3. The UX of DirecTV includes the automated voice system when you call for support.
  4. The UX of my car includes the price.
  5. The UX of StackExchange includes the FAQ as well as the UI.

All of these things affect how I feel about the product/service/system. The goal of UX is to influence outcomes like referrals, sales, safety, etc. UX is (to a large degree) applied psychology. It is designing things to elicit a desired response.

This question is pretty broad, but I hope this helps.

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Should your first example be included? While communism is a 'system', it's rather broader than the well-defined products or services in the other examples. I could be said to directly and personally use those items; not sure this applies to communism. –  e100 Aug 23 '11 at 22:21
Although I did it quickly, I think communism is a system, just like capitalism or monarchy or dictatorship. The UX is how people's psychology are applied to the system. Like in communism, (imagine a commune in Isreal) your job is assigned to you, as opposed to in capitalism where you choose your job based on talents/desires. How you feel about your job is a direct consequence about the system that assigns (or not) your job. –  Glen Lipka Aug 24 '11 at 0:44
(1) You have to bound the subject somewhere, surely? I haven't found the term used outside what perhaps could be termed as products (physical, services, applications), and the vast majority of the time it's about applications, as per the questions on this site - it took me a while to find a question that wasn't. (2) "The goal of UX is to influence outcomes" - this seems key, if we're talking about User Experience as a practice rather than user experience in general. –  e100 Aug 24 '11 at 9:36
On #2, I think psychology could be thought of as a "study", but it seems so much more interesting when it's used to affect people's lives. I always think about the application of UX and not just the study of it. –  Glen Lipka Aug 24 '11 at 17:08

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