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User Experience usually refers to human-computer interaction, but the underlying concepts and research methods are relevant to many other fields, particularly the built environment (architecture, landscape architecture, and city planning). However, it isn't appropriate to refer to a person in this context as a "user."

Even though people can use space, they also co-create the experience of that space with other people, i.e., their actions affect other people's experiences and behaviors. Therefore, people who study and design elements of the built environment (e.g. buildings, parks, streets) explore methods to enhance the user's experience (e.g. accessibility, wayfinding) and also methods that encourage or mitigate the behaviors of others.

Is there another term for this kind of focus?

"Experience Design" seems a likely candidate that even encompasses UX. (I imagine it could become a separate StackExchange community).

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    Wikipedia: Experience design, perhaps more than other forms of design, is transactive and transformative: every experience designer is an experiencer; and every experiencer, via his or her reactions, a designer of experience in turn. While commercial contexts often describe people as "customers, consumers, or users," this and non-commercial contexts might use the words "audience, people, and participants." In either case, for conscientious experience designers, this is merely a semantic difference. – Nick Sund Mar 31 '16 at 19:06
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    very nice explanation, should write it down as an answer rather than a comment. As far as semantics go, regardless of the 'thing' that is created, aren't the 'entities' that experience these 'experiences' still the end-users? – Michael Lai Mar 31 '16 at 21:41
  • @MichaelLai Can I answer my own question? – Nick Sund Mar 31 '16 at 23:48
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Experience Design is an emerging discipline that draws from many other disciplines including cognitive and perceptual psychology, architecture and environmental design, product design, interaction design, information design, service design, hazard analysis, linguistics, haptics, ethnography, and more.

Perhaps more than other forms of design, [experience design] is transactive and transformative: every experience designer is an experiencer; and every experiencer, via his or her reactions, a designer of experience in turn. While commercial contexts often describe people as "customers, consumers, or users," this and non-commercial contexts might use the words "audience, people, and participants." In either case, for conscientious experience designers, this is merely a semantic difference.

Paraphrased from Wikipedia

  • +1 no reason why you can't answer your own question, if you think of one :) – Michael Lai Apr 1 '16 at 0:38
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Service Design seems to be the preferred term these days.

Service design is a form of conceptual design which involves the activity of planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service in order to improve its quality and the interaction between service provider and customers. The purpose of service design methodologies is to design back and front office of services according to the needs of customers and the competences/capabilities of service providers, so that the service is user-friendly, competitive and relevant to the customers, while being sustainable for the service provider.

From Wikipedia Article

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    Service Design tends to focus on the intersection of business and user concerns with respect to a service product. UX is typically that for HCI. Experience Design is the more non-specific term that crosses contexts. – plainclothes Mar 31 '16 at 22:14
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From a Medium article written by someone with experience in both fields titled User experience design vs. architecture:

Architectural design is basically user experience design on a physical and spatial level, where space is just another medium and buildings and structures are the interfaces and frameworks that users can interact with. A building then is a tangible version of a mobile app.

I can't speak for the architects out there, but for me UX design has never been about working within the 'digital space'. In the end people don't live/exist inside the 'glass', so somehow it must all relate back to the real world (hopefully the mobile keypads will fit with a human sized finger if the smartphones don't get bigger sooner).

You'll find also that in many areas of psychology research there are studies looking at factors that influence people's behaviour (not sure what they call it), but again technology is just another variable and not the basis of such research, maybe except in specialized areas such as captology, which I believe is a concept popularized by B.J. Fogg:

Captology is the study of computers as persuasive technologies. This includes the design, research, and analysis of interactive computing products (computers, mobile phones, websites, wireless technologies, mobile applications, video games, etc.) created for the purpose of changing people’s attitudes or behaviors. BJ Fogg derived the term captology in 1996 from an acronym: Computers As Persuasive Technologies = CAPT.

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    “… for me UX design has never been about working within the 'digital space'” – I couldn’t agree more. Incidentally, the most interesting questions here at UX.SE are rarely about websites and apps. – Crissov Mar 31 '16 at 22:20
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    In general, architects are concerned with buildings while landscape architects are concerned with the space between buildings. Meanwhile, city planners focus on property lines, jurisdictional boundaries, and land-use law. All professions are concerned with different levels of the "user experience" of the built environment, so it would be troublesome to restrict its definition to just "architectural design." – Nick Sund Mar 31 '16 at 23:59

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