User experience definitions

There are many definitions for user experience. Below a pool of definitions found from the literature and on the Web.

  1. All the aspects of how people use an interactive product: the way it feels in their hands, how well they understand how it works, how they feel about it while they’re using it, how well it serves their purposes, and how well it fits into the entire context in which they are using it.
    - Alben (1996)
  2. All aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products. The first requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother. Next comes simplicity and elegance that produce products that are a joy to own, a joy to use. True user experience goes far beyond giving customers what they say they want, or providing checklist features. In order to achieve high-quality user experience in a company’s offerings there must be a seamless merging of the services of multiple disciplines, including engineering, marketing, graphical and industrial design, and interface design.
    - Nielsen-Norman Group
  3. The overall experience, in general or specifics, a user, customer, or audience member has with a product, service, or event. In the Usability field, this experience is usually defined in terms of ease-of-use. However, the experience encompasses more than merely function and flow, but the understanding compiled through all of the senses.
    - Shedroff
  4. Every aspect of the user’s interaction with a product, service, or company that make up the user’s perceptions of the whole. User experience design as a discipline is concerned with all the elements that together make up that interface, including layout, visual design, text, brand, sound, and interaction. UE works to coordinate these elements to allow for the best possible interaction by users.
    - UPA
  5. User eXperience (UX) is about how a person feels about using a system. User experience highlights the experiential, affective, meaningful and valuable aspects of human-computer interaction (HCI) and product ownership, but it also covers 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 performance, feelings and thoughts about the system. User experience is dynamic, because it changes over time as the circumstances change
    - Wikipedia
  6. User Experience (abbreviated: UX) is the quality of experience a person has when interacting with a specific design.
    - UXnet.org and Interaction-Design.org
  7. A result of motivated action in a certain context. User’s previous experiences and expectations influence the present experience; this present experience leads to more experiences and modified expectations.
    - Mäkelä & Fulton Suri (2001)
  8. A consequence of a user’s internal state (predispositions, expectations, needs, motivation, mood, etc.), the characteristics of the designed system (e.g. complexity, purpose, usability, functionality, etc.) and the context (or the environment) within which the interaction occurs (e.g. organisational/social setting, meaningfulness of the activity, voluntariness of use, etc.)
    - Hassenzahl & Tractinsky (2006)
  9. The value derived from interaction(s) [or anticipated interaction(s)] with a product or service and the supporting cast in the context of use (e.g., time, location, and user disposition).
    - Sward & MacArthur (2007)
  10. The user experience considers the wider relationship between the product and the user in order to investigate the individual’s personal experience of using it.
    - McNamara & Kirakowski (2006)
  11. Users’ perceptions of interaction that constitute qualities of use.
    - Colbert (2005)
  12. An activity of encounter by a computer user with the auditory and visual presentation of a collection of computer programs. It is important to note that this includes only what the user perceives and not all that is presented.
    - Microsoft
  13. An umbrella term used to describe all the factors that contribute to a site user’s overall perception of a system. Is it easy to use, attractive and appropriate? Does it meet user needs?
    - Public Life
  14. The entire set of affects that is elicited by the interaction between a user and a product, including the degree to which all our senses are gratified (aesthetic experience), the meanigs we attach to the product (experience of meaning), and the feelings and emotions that are elicited (emotional experience).
    - Hekkert (2006)
  15. UX is a momentary, primarily evaluative feeling (good-bad) while interacting with a product or service.
    - Hassenzahl (2008)
  16. A person’s perceptions and responses that result from the use or anticipated use of a product, system or service
    - ISO 9241-210 (2010)
  17. A set of material rendered by a user agent which may be perceived by a user and with which interaction may be possible.
    - W3C
  18. Encompasses all aspects of a digital product that users experience directly—and perceive, learn, and use—including its form, behavior, and content. Learnability, usability, usefulness, and aesthetic appeal are key factors in users’ experience of a product.
    - UXmatters
  19. The design of user interaction with a system, product or service considering the usability, the enjoyment and the fit to the way users think.
    - TicToc
  20. The user experience, mostly called “customer experience” when referring to e-commerce websites; the totality of the experience of a user when visiting a website. Their impressions and feelings. Whether they’re successful. Whether they enjoy themselves. Whether they feel like coming back again. The extent to which they encounter problems, confusions, and bugs.
    - UsabilityFirst.com
  21. User experience = Convenience + Design – Cost.
    Convenience is the king. What makes a product convenient is quite often what makes it usable. It might also relate to the availability of the product. It might also have something to do with laziness and productivity. Defining “convenience” is by no means an easy task. As is with everything else in this chart, convenience is subjective.
    Design is what makes a product liked and attractive, even before it has been used. Design is what makes you want the product. It is beauty, the touch of a famous designer, a likable company, character—pretty much what brand value is thought to be.
    - Nyman (2005)
  22. The user experience is the totality of end-users’ perceptions as they interact with a product or service. These perceptions include effectiveness (how good is the result?), efficiency (how fast or cheap is it?), emotional satisfaction (how good does it feel?), and the quality of the relationship with the entity that created the product or service (what expectations does it create for subsequent interactions?).
    - Kuniavsky (2010)
  23. The overall experience and satisfaction a user has when using a product or system.
    - Old Wikipedia definition, still used e.g. at BitPipe.com
  24. The overall perception and comprehensive interaction an individual has with a company, service or product. A positive user experience is an end-user‘s successful and streamlined completion of a desired task.
    - Goto (2004)
  25. UX = the sum of a series of interactions
    User experience (UX) represents the perception left in someone’s mind following a series of interactions between people, devices, and events – or any combination thereof.
    - Fatdux.com
  26. User experience stands for the quality of a global experience as perceived by a person (user) interacting with a system.
    - use-design.com
  27. Users’ judgement of product quality arising from their experience of interaction, and the product qualities which engender effective use and pleasure.
    - Sutcliffe (2010)

5 comments to User experience definitions

  • Gabriel I definitely agree with the second experience. It is basically what makes user experience.

  • Mastiff puppies

    I think the definition of user experience will vary from industry to industry. User experience in retail industry will be different from what we call user experience in IT industry.

  • moony

    Hi Gabriel,

    Thanks so much for the references! I think those two definitions best explain the concept of user experience in relation to digital game-based learning studies.

    More power \m/

    Moony

  • Great list and very interesting. I wonder to what extent these definitions will have to change as UX evolves? For example as service design is becoming hot and as the concept of a system is expanded (we may see spatial operating systems and the cloud has connected devices in a fashion that is a part of the UX dicipline) HCI, terms like “product” and the idea that we’re limited to an interface feel limiting.
    Just a reaction to the list. Great to have it! Nice collection.

  • Hi. In my research on the concept of User Experience I have found two more interesting definitions that may be useful to the community:

    By this (user experience) we mean what the interaction with the system feels like to the users. This involves explicating the nature of the user experience in subjective terms. (PREECE; ROGERS; SHARP, 2002, p. 19).

    User experience is not about the inner workings of a product or service. User experience is about how it works on the outside, where a person comes into contact with it. (GARRETT, 2011, p. 6)

    Please let me know if you use them :)

    Regards,
    Gabriel

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