User Experience and Usability – Understanding the Difference

User experience and usability are some of the words that are used in the digital world that most people normally assume their meaning. This is because they do not realize that there is a major difference between the two which is:

Usability

This is the efforts put in place to get something done easily and intuitively. The main aim here is to get rid of any roadblocks that would come in the way and deter people from performing tasks at hand.

User Experience

User Experience (UX) deals with how a person actually feels. This has something to do with emotional connection if there is any in regards to the task at hand.

Both user experience and usability are extremely important when it comes to the overall success of an application or a website. However, most people normally conclude that if something is made easy to use, it has automatically created an incredible user experience. Usability is considered to be one of the many factors that influence the experiences that users will have at the end of the day. Interaction design, visual design, content strategy and information architecture are also put into consideration when it comes to this.

User experience (UX) can be summed up as all the above factors put into consideration when a person’s emotional response has been gauged. To achieve great user experience, a lot of effort has to be put in but the results you get after thorough thought and planning normally has a huge impact one of the reasons why you need to differentiate between user experience and usability. Something interesting about UX is that it manages to bleed over to the physical world. An individual may have a great experience researching about various products on your website but may not score highly when it comes to interacting with people who work for your company.

To accomplish successful UX when dealing with the differences on user experience and usability there are a number of questions you need to ask yourself to arrive at a conclusive solution such as:

Who exactly are your users? What makes your users tick? What are the users hoping to accomplish?

When you get answers to the above questions it will make it easier to understand the rationale and motivations of the users which can be used to influence all the aspects of your product or service.

It is also important to understand that accomplishing tasks in a few simple steps does not really constitute a good user experience. This is because there is a certain emotional appeal that is associated with the discovery process. This is mostly achieved when a person is able to uncover a hidden gem when going through the information that they were not really expecting to come across.

This normally creates a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. It is therefore vital to put in a lot of thought when dealing with the two concepts. Do not forget to recognize the difference between user experience and usability as you consider real human needs to works to get great results at the end of the day.

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Megan Wilson
Megan Wilson is user experience specialist & editor of UX Motel. She is also the Quality Assurance and UX Specialist at WalkMe Megan.w(at)walkme.com
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