User Experience White Paper

User Experience White Paper is a result from a Dagstuhl seminar on Demarcating User Experience, where 30 experts from academia and industry worked together to bring some clarity to the concept of user experience. We see the white paper as an important step towards a common understanding on user experience.

Download the User Experience White Paper (12 pages, pdf, 0.5MB), or the Abstracts Collection of the Dagstuhl Seminar, which includes not only the UX White Paper content but also participants’ comments on the topic.

Thanks to our Japanese colleagues, we now have a Japanese version of the UX White Paper on the HDCvalue web site. Enjoy!

15 comments to User Experience White Paper

  • James


    Great paper: it made my lit. review easy so thanks!

    My reason for reading was to obtain a definition of user experience conducive to measurement via a likert scale.

    After the review of each definition, I came up with the following definition

    “User experience is a set of psychological responses comprised of perception (i.e. subjective interpretations of sensory stimuli) and affect (i.e. the experience of feeling and emotion)”.

    So in my view UX seems to boil down to things: perception and affect.




  • Hi! thak you all for this great material.

    Now I’m just wondering what will be the difference between “user experience” and “use experience”. Maybe the focus? What do you think?

    • Virpi Roto

      Use experience is close to interaction experience in my mind. It focuses in interaction with not so much focus on the other factors affecting UX (user, context, meaning of the system).

      As a term, use experience is so easy to mix with user experience that I would not recommend using it.

      This is just my personal opinion, so I’m eager to hear other interpretations of the term!

      • Brenda Castro

        I understand as “use experience” the experience of use, as the immediate reaction from a very specific interaction exploration, this is useful for example to study a specific feature of a service. Whereas user experience refers to a holistic interpretation of several interactions, and this is useful for studying a whole service, device, etc.

        This is also my very personal understanding and even if I myself don’t use the first term, I still think it is very important to identify the difference between analyzing the experience of specific interactions independently and analyzing a set of interactions holistically to achieve great experiences 😉

  • Chandra Harrison

    Thanks for some great insights. Perhaps to gather more practitioner input in a future round of research you could use one of the professional organisations that UX practitioners belong to such as the Usability Professionals Association who would be happy to help put you in contact with more practitioners.

    President of UK Usability Professionals Association

    • Virpi Roto

      Thanks Chandra for your kind offer!

      Practitioners have much to shareabout UX work in practice.
      We have only scratched the surface so far, any work on this topic is very welcome!

  • Robert M. Fein

    Gilbert, Virpi,

    Thanks for distributing this whitepaper. Like others have stated, the Time Spans portion of the paper was the most interesting and readily (re-)usable section.

    However, I couldn’t help wonder, esp. given the overwhelmingly academic nature of the participants how relevant this whitepaper was in a non-academic context. I would really appreciate hearing how UX in the real world, with it’s attendant compromises, time-scales, and actual practice, were either taken into account or deliberately forestalled for another seminar.

    –robert m. fein

    • Virpi Roto

      Good point, Robert. We aimed to have more industry people in the seminar, but it seems hard for companies to invest in this kind of an activity. We succeeded to get 11 industry people (out of 34) in this team, which I see a rather good number.

      With UX White Paper, our aim was to bring clarity to the concept of UX, and we did not focus on the practical UX work. This is another reason why academics are a majority.

      I’m looking forward to seeing a community of practitioners continue this work, and why not another seminar!

  • Gilbert Cockton

    Henning, thanks for your feedback. We did consider the issue of b) above, but did not have time to cover any evaluative aspects of UX practice in sufficient depth to make a useful contribution here. Evaluation of UX, and evaluation of UX practice are important topics, to which our group or others may return in the future.

    Philip – thanks for your feedback on 3), this part took some working out, and it’s good to know that the results are appreciated

  • Santosh

    Hi there,

    Very useful document. This kind of definitive work is much needed because the words ‘User Experience’ get used and abused much too often. Thanks for putting in the effort.

    HCI Researcher

  • Phillip

    This is a useful and concise high=level view of User Experience. I’ll be sharing it with colleagues. Three comments:

    1) I would add the bracketed phrase to this sentence “The verb ‘experiencing’ refers to an individual’s stream of perceptions, interpretations of those perceptions, and resulting emotions [and judgments] during an encounter with a system”. Meaning, of course, that each of us forms and walks away with opinions about a system that can and usually are separate and more long-lasting than transitory emotions.

    2) I hate to nitpick, but a slightly more unique document title (and file name) is appropriate. I have many design resources I turn to. “UX-WhitePaper” doesn’t help me remember the content.

    3) I really appreciate the “Time Spans” section, since all too often UX design, particularly of devices and visual-oriented systems, is focused on fixed points of the experience happening in static situations.

    • Virpi Roto

      Thanks for the feedback, Phillip! Some responses:

      1) We saw that ‘experiencing’ is the flow of fleeting experiences, whereas the judgments and opinions come after ‘a user experience’ (the second type of UX).

      2) Thanks, we could add a subtitle to the main title.

      3) Yes, time spans of UX have not been discussed much so far.

    • Virpi Roto

      Regarding point 2), there is now a subtitle “Bringing clarity to the concept of user experience” in the pdf. Thanks for pointing this out Phillip!

  • Henning Fritzenwalder

    Great stuff. I really appreciate the effort to clarify terms as it’s just a must if UX and/or Design should get more influence in organisations.
    Just one remark: To make these definitions more meaningful for a pragmatic approach, we need to allow practitioners to make sound judgement on whether they are a) actually doing UX and b) whether they’re doing good UX.

    • Virpi Roto

      Sorry for the delay in answering, Henning. You raised interesting questions, which are difficult to answer:
      a) There are various kinds of roles for UX people, and it would be hard to draw the line between UX / non-UX. The ‘What is UX not’ bullets on page 6 might help a bit.
      b) This site, allaboutux, describes a bunch of UX evaluation methods that may help in assessing how good the UX is (for a specific person in a specific context – “good” UX is often difficult to define)

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