From the category archives:

Interaction design

Great products deliver long-term customer value: they help meet fundamental life goals and aspirations. They meet needs that go beyond interacting with the product itself.

The usability of a product influences both people’s emotional response to it (“Argh! This is so frustrating!”) and their longer-term attachment to it (“I love this site!”). The ease with which users can achieve their goals is the most significant factor to consider when assessing the overall user experience.

People’s core motivations – their key aspirations and life goals – typically go beyond the interfaces you design. A product that takes users closer to their life goals, not just their end goals, will make them fanatically loyal.

You probably own a few products that appeal emotionally – things that you really like: Your favourite watch, your always-with-you iPod, the video game that you can’t put down. Why do you like them so much?

During and after using a product, say a mobile phone application, users reflect on its value to them. This determines whether they will use it again. They’re asking, “What’s this worth to me”? But what do we mean by value?

The design of user experiences is often talked about in terms of visual design, usability, branding, content, and so on. These are indeed features of interactive products that can lead to compelling user experiences. But they are not the user experience. They are the product.