Enjoyment, pleasure, fun, joy in relation to user experience.

Article "The semantics of fun: Differntiating enjoyable experience" :

Over the last 20 years repeated attempts have been made in HCI to put enjoyment into focus. How-ever, it is only recently that the importance of enjoyment, even in serious applications, has been widely recognised by the HCI community.*

Article "Engineering Joy" :

The notion of joy of use is instantly appealing, though its actual meaning is hard to grasp. In 1997, Bob Glass said, “If you’re still talking about ease of use then you’re behind. It is all about the joy of use.*

*Article "Beyond Fun" :

So what about fun? Fun is an important and obvious example of how the concept of usability has developed. In circumstances where human-computer interaction is discretionary,and especially where it involves sustained user activity, ease and simplicity are just not enough. People must want to use a system, and must continue wanting to use the system. Part of achieving this is making the system fun to use.

Is there any real differences between: Enjoyment, pleasure, joy, fun.

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it has nothing to do with UX, probably suitable to be moved to English Language & Usage – Devin Jan 10 '16 at 16:45
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    The OP is looking for definitions in relationship to UX. Since words can have different meaning in different environments, the question is seeking specifics to this practice. That said, I don't believe UX has any significant difference in definition for any of these terms than standard definitions. – Evil Closet Monkey Jan 10 '16 at 16:52
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    @EvilClosetMonkey, I agree that the OP is in-context for UX, but disagree about UX having differentiation for these terms. Specifically, I think that fun and joy fit nicely into discussions of game-ification, while pleasure and enjoyment speak to interface clarity and positive/reinforcing feedback of appropriate user actions. Fun and joy are products of the rewards system, while enjoyment, pleasure and pride are the results of an interface's intrinsic training features. – Henry Taylor Jan 11 '16 at 5:02
  • @HenryTaylor - My reply is not to imply the relationship between the terms - same or not. I'm only saying that looking up the terms in the Oxford (or similar) Dictionary would yield how UX defines them, versus a more unique industry specific definition. – Evil Closet Monkey Jan 11 '16 at 21:06

Emotional theories are highly relevant to user experience. According to arousal - valence model, one of the emotional theory, joy and pleasure have different values. Peter Desmet, Paul Hakkert published many articles on turning design activities around emotions.

These models are vital when the emotions are converted to another intelligence form. For instance; facial recognition and skin conductance shall be positioned under a higher abstract model. The same model also used in Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering domain.

In short, these words are highly relevant and have nuances in emotion driven design activities.

http://studiolab.ide.tudelft.nl/diopd/ http://studiolab.ide.tudelft.nl/diopd/library/publications/emotional-design/ can give you more insight about the topic.


I firmly believe that fun, enjoyment, pleasure and joy are NOT off topic to the subject matter. They are actually the "talk of the town" in the domain of UX. Fun is a short term experience whereas enjoyment is an experience that lasts longer.

Please check out the paper titled "Pleasure and Enjoyment in Digital Games" by Jari Takatalo, Jukka Häkkinen, Jari Lipsanen1, Miikka Lehtonen, Jyrki Kaistinen1and Göte Nyman (2008). "In psychology, fun, enjoyment, and pleasure are all seen as agreeable affective reactions. However, there are studies, which make distinction between pleasure and enjoyment, stating that simplistic hedonic models are not enough to account for all behaviors."

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