What is a good user experience? UX Question #4

Watch on YouTube

YouTube player

Listen to the podcast

Read the transcript

James from Riverside, California, asks: What is a good user experience?

I love that question. Thanks for asking, James. This is UX Question number 4 and I am Ben Judy.

What is a good user experience? Well, to assess the quality of a user’s experience you can rely on principles and you can rely on frameworks.

Principles or heuristics are general rules of thumb. Most of the time, in the right hands, they can help you quickly determine if you are directionally pointing toward a good experience for most users, or not.

Measurement frameworks, coupled with a good strategy, can help you actually gather data and quantify whether your UX is good or bad.

Here are some examples.

An example of a set of UX principles would be 10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design by Jakob Nielsen. I’ll put links to all of these in the description or in the show notes. Nielsen’s list includes things like: Visibility of system status, Error prevention, Recognition rather than recall. If you use these principles to critique your design, you can get a long way toward achieving a good user experience.

Other lists of heuristics include Bruce Tognazinni’s First Principles of Interaction Design and the International Standards Organization publication ISO 9241–110 Ergonomics of human-system interaction — Part 110: Interaction principles. These principles can help if you take the time to evaluate a product design against them.

And that’s a really important skill, knowing how to critique UX design. To identify common patterns that add up to either a good experience or a bad experience, most of the time, and to be articulate about it.

But what if you feel you really need proof? Not just an expert’s eye and a set of generic principles, but actual measurement against some objective standard?

Well, that’s where measurement frameworks can help.

Examples of such frameworks are the System Usability Scale which has been around a long time. Or, a more recent framework I rather like is the HEART framework, in which you establish goals, signals and metrics for five categories: happiness, engagement, adoption, retention, and task success. Again, links in the description.

Finally, if you really want to know whether your UX is good or bad, just ask the product owner for their unqualified opinion, because, I mean, they’re the product owner! Obviously, they’re just smarter than everyone else. Yeah.

Support UX Questions

Visit us on Patreon and check out the great perks at each level of support!

Become a sponsor

You can advertise your products or services—our promote yourself as a UX professional—by sponsoring episodes of UX Questions! Send an email to userexperiencequestions@gmail.com and ask for details.

Hire Ben Judy

Ben is available for consulting engagements as a workshop facilitator, mentor, design coach, and more! Send an email to userexperiencequestions@gmail.com and ask for details.