User Experience and HCI

Last summer, Andrew Sears and Julie Jacko asked me to contribute a chapter to the next revision of their monumental Human-Computer Interaction Handbook. It was an honor I could not refuse, but their stated topic for me, the consumer experience, was a difficult one to define, especially since there was 1000+ pages covering the fine details of human-computer interaction from ergonomics to visual design. With that kind of detail, what aspect of the computer user experience remained? I decided that it was everything that defined the user experience that was not the human-computer interaction, many of which were ideas I learned working as a consultant independently and for Adaptive Path. I spent most of October and November writing the chapter, which I delivered in rough form to Andrew and Julie last week. It's far from ready, but I wanted to share the introduction and the outline, as a teaser.

User Experience and HCI

The goal for this chapter is to introduce concepts and techniques that help structure the application of HCI in a real-world environment by examining the larger context in which human-computer interaction happens and by using that context as the basis for the design of user experiences.

Understanding the broader factors that influence the user experience is as important for creating successful Human Computer Interaction systems as thoroughly understanding the cognitive science behind the user's actions. Company goals, economic relationships, emotional responses and social interactions can overwhelm behavioral and perceptual responses of consumers. Although intensive research is currently investigating some of these ideas, the majority of firsthand experience of and thinking about designing experiences under such pressures has happened in the consumer marketplace as documented in popular business and marketing literature. In bringing these ideas and experiences to this volume I hope to introduce the process of Human Computer Interaction as part of a broader activity: specifically, the development and creation of user experience in a consumer economy.


Section 1: the boundaries of user experience

  • UX is context
  • Garrett's Elements

Section 2: the organizational experience

  • The 1927 Ford Model T
  • A children's art product manufacturer website

Section 3: the user view

  • The user experience of products
    • Affect
    • Value
  • The user experience of organizations
    • Brand
    • Relationships

Section 4: Examining the user experience

  • Identifying organizational goals
    • Identify stakeholders
    • Collect stakeholder goals
    • Prioritize organizational goals
    • A rapid technique: project history
    • Field observation
    • Find key informants, schedule research
    • Narrow the focus
    • User interactive observation
    • Use multiple researchers and analyze collaboratively
    • Validation
  • Focus groups
    • Prepare
    • Make a schedule
    • Pick an audience
    • Develop discussion topics
    • Write a discussion guide
    • Analyze results

Section 5: Manage with user experience

  • Agile user experience development
    • Iterative development
    • Risk-driven and client-driven
    • Timeboxing
    • Adaptive development and evolutionary requirements
  • Introducing user experience into an existing process
    • Get a senior manager champion
    • Work within existing processes
    • Make small, but well-publicized changes
    • Make developers' lives easier with user experience



No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL:




A device studio that lives at the intersections of ubiquitous computing, ambient intelligence, industrial design and materials science.

The Smart Furniture Manifesto

Giant poster, suitable for framing! (300K PDF)
Full text and explanation

Recent Photos (from Flickr)

Smart Things: Ubiquitous Computing User Experience Design

By me!
ISBN: 0123748992
Published in September 2010
Available from Amazon

Observing the User Experience: a practitioner's guide to user research

By me!
ISBN: 1558609237
Published April 2003
Available from Amazon

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mike Kuniavsky published on December 7, 2005 5:50 PM.

A holiday wish...for me was the previous entry in this blog.

A design knowledge management system...for programmers?!? is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.