"Talk Shop: UX Design" at General Assembly

Last night, General Assembly hosted a panel of UX designers (J. Crew, IDEO, Spotify, Charming Robot) to discuss what “good” UX means to them.   It’s interesting to note that all of the panel members had varying ideas of what a positive user experience is to them, although unsurprising due to their widely varying backgrounds and the fact that they all work in different organizations.  This is also unsurprising because depending on the product and type of experience in question, the meaning of an effective user experience should vary.

My very broad definition of a good user experience is that a user is able to achieve a predetermined goal/outcome successfully with little frustration.  An excellent user experience is all of that plus the experience being a memorable one.

Some interesting takeaways from last night:

  • Where does UX fit within the design process?  This generally depends on the project and the organization.  For example, IDEO likes to incorporate the UX process at the beginning of a project with a "synthesis session" where they identify users and, in person, get an idea of how they interact with a product and what the problems they encounter may be.  Spotify uses lots of up front real world testing and iterating.  Their process is not as defined but it works based on the nature of their product.
  • UX work is never finished.  Just like for digital product releases, it’s important to continuously iterate and refine.
  • A definition of a good UX design is one that is clean and simple.  Designers will tell you that this sounds easy, but as a product is iterated and more features are added, the level of complexity will increase and it will become more challenging to maintain simplicity.