User behavior is not indicative of the user themselves, but rather of the system with which they interact.
There seems to be a lot of confusion around User Experience Design, what it does, why it is important and how it is different from User Interface Design. This last point is often combined with calls for rules or SOPs to guide developers in creating good user experiences. While there are certainly guidelines and design patterns for creating digital interfaces, these are by no means prescriptive. User Experience Design is about crafting the potential for a great interaction between a user and his/her tool. This interaction, however, is highly dependent on the situation; the environment, type of user, interaction modes, visual language, and especially the user themselves. The consequence of this web of interconnected dependencies is that there are no hard and fast rules. There are, however, some concepts which all User Experience and Interaction Designers strive to achieve through the use of the visual elements and principles of design.
How can we know if interaction design is successful?
Being an interaction designer, I think about this often. Moreover, I think about how we discuss these questions. Many designers evaluate designs on an instinctive level and when they attempt to externalize their thoughts, it ends up sounding like “I just know users will hate that.”
How then do designers discuss interactions in a credible way? How does one evaluate interaction design? Why do I know users will hate that (whatever that is)?
Businesses at all levels are beginning to actively engage with the problems of user experience because they have seen the profound effects of excellent interactions with customers: more re-purchasers, more customer referrals, greater customer loyalty, etc. The list of benefits goes on and on. I’m not going to discuss the need for interaction design and customer experience management right now. Research shows that “90% of companies feel that customer experience is very important or critical in 2010, and 80% intend to use it as competitive differentiation.”1 Most companies understand that need and those that don’t will soon be left behind.