Some software engineering researchers believe UX is yet another software quality (i.e. quality requirement or non-functional requirement-e.g. security, performance), or yet another 'cross-cutting concern'-e.g. architecture.

Therefore, these researchers believe the field of software engineering already has investigated and offered solutions how to deal with UX: follow what the field has to say about quality requirements/cross-cutting concerns. This also means that in their view software engineering practitioners can themselves approach UX from this perspective and achieve a good UX in their products.

Although, of course there are similarities between UX and quality requirements or cross-cutting concerns, I think there are major differences as well. One difference for instance is that basically anyone 'thinks' they can have an opinion about UX, because all of us have experiences each and everyday. This is while there are only few of us that dare to give opinion about 'architecture', quality requirements such as security.

My question is: what are similarities and difference between UX and quality requirements and between UX and other cross-cutting concerns?

I appreciate if you share reference that have touched this topic in general, or have touched part of it: e.g. compared UX to one quality requirement.

In my view, clarifying these similarities and differences helps 'software engineers' get a better view on UX, and appreciate the ongoing research in the field of UX more.

2 Answers 2


There are many commonalities in the way they all influence the success of the product.

User experience is as good as any other architectural concerns - be it security, performance - and in fact they cross cut.

Providing a hint on security question enhances user experience of an application and has to be stopping a point before it can become a good enough clue for hackers.

Subtle but strong difference is threat vectors for other concerns comes from elsewhere

Security as a concern - threat vectors come from external sources (man in the middle attack, forced replay, session hijack and million other vectors).

Performance - threat vectors start from the product and operating environment (appliance's performance in an environment, application's performance on a controlled environment etc)

Usability - the threat vector comes from within the customer.

A product being the subject,

  • learning to use (extreme usability leads to short learning curve, intuitiveness in using etc)
  • use (performance, value it brings, social recognition etc)
  • repeated use (security concerns kick in)
  • addiction (usability drives)

Not in very strict order but this could be a curve that the user takes. I believe User Experience is the first milestone and if the product is not usable, it just stops there. With all respect to other concerns, my two cents is, a product has to be usable and also secure, performing and so on. That is if one wants the product to succeed. :)



  • UX is an experience and therefore highly subjective. It is a qualitative subject. Quality req usually are measured, which means it is quantitative. One can measure it using surveys, but it doesnt provide actionable insights, just prove it is high enough to pass a quality gate.
  • The real UX can be only be measured through customers or potential customers, because of some side effects of brand image and customer expectations. It cannot measured or evaluated by a quality manager.


  • Getting good UX is a team effort as well as good quality.
  • The roots for a good UX are set in the analysis phase of each software project. After analysis the requirements are written and qualities are set. From perspective of a quality manager it is just a job of defining quality goals, which are measured during deveolpment.

The point is (difference!) most UX & Usability activities are done in the analysis phase like user research, prototyping&testing. In order to get best matching requirements. This means you are the one who sets the ground for quality criteria being checked in development later. Quality criteria are build upon requirements. Because quality criteria can be measured by surveys without insights or measured by survey after a usability test - giving you insights, one needs usability tests to check UX quality. For usability tests one needs specialists like you.

Hope this argumentation helps you.

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