User experience design is a field that rooted from the field of human factors and ergonomics that began as early as 1940 which focused on interaction between human users, machines, and contextual environments.

Donald Norman, a user experience architect coined the term user experience to wider knowledge. He intended for the term to cover all aspects of a person’s experience with the system including industrial design graphics, the interface, physical interaction and the manual, but somehow the term has slowly lost its meaning.

Here’s one of the reason why: A typical scenario of user experience design would be when the design team sits down to share the first round of mock-ups for a new client’s application. As team members present their ideas, different ideas and concepts begin to slowly surface. It then becomes more of a discussion of who—rather than what—is right. Everyone is defending their designs, and no one is defending the user. Does that sound familiar? This is when user stories needs to be implemented.

User story describes something that the user wants to achieve by using the software, website, or product. For designers, this should be the central design force and a way to organize and prioritize of how each screen is designed. They are best identified before doing any visual design, resisting the temptation to jump straight into designing that might save time and headaches and lots of wasted effort.

Usually user stories are short and specific statements. An example would be:

As a user, I want to create a new account.”

But it is not usually that simple. Creating an account involves a list of other actions underneath it that could be broken down further to:

“As a user I want to type in a new username”

“As a user I want to enter a password”

“As a user I want to re-enter password to verify it”

When done properly, the outcome will be a long list of user stories, most of which will incorporate to the final layout of the website or product.

But as a user, do I really want to re-enter password to verify it? How do we distinguish between the users’ actual goal and the tasks designers are forcing them to do? Just because it’s called User Experience, doesn’t mean it’s always the users’. And this is when insights from end-users can become the designer’s ally – and of course, the users themselves.

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