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When I say user experience, the first thing that comes to mind is probably the user interaction with the product or service through its design, layout and so on. And that would be correct. The official definition of user experience is, a person's perceptions and responses that result from the use or anticipated use of a product, system or service. The focus when we talk about user experience, is usually on the functionality or design or layout of the product or service, the presentation layer.
What I'm going to focus on in this course, is the content and context layers, what is actually being communicated? Because a person's perceptions and responses to anything, depend to a great extent on whether the person understands what is being communicated and is able to use that information in an informed way. So when I talk of user experience, I'm putting extra emphasis on the communication aspect of the experience, the words and directions used in the experience.
Because, while layout and functionality is important to produce great user experiences, what really matters in the end, is that the message is received, understood and acted on in the way we intended. Let's put this into perspective. By looking at a situation we can all relate to. Reading a newspaper. Anyone who's tried to read a newspaper in a public space or on public transit will tell you, this is not a great user experience. So why do people still do it? Because although the physical user experience, the presentation layer, was not great, the informational experience user was.
The newspaper provided information in a clear and understandable way and provided valuable information. And because of this, people were willing to accept the awkward experience of folding their paper and turning it around. And the newspapers were content, because there was little competition in the information space. Today, the physical newspaper is largely gone, replaced by online publication, and in this new online world there's a lot of competition. That means the future of the newspaper pretty much stands and falls on the informational part of the user experience.
Publish great content that people want, understand, and can use, or become a forgotten chapter in the history of the information age. In the battle for the continued existence of the newspaper, we see the true challenge of the information age. Creating great informational user experiences that catch the reader's attention. And provide her with the tools to understand the information presented to her. And this doesn't only apply to newspapers. While today's online information landscape is governed by websites and apps designed and formatted by the publishers.
We're moving into a future where the user takes control over how the information is presented to them. Personalization, semantic filtering, and new technologies are moving us towards a brave new world. Where the visual web we know and love, becomes just one of many ways of consuming what is published. All of this, sums up to one key conclusion. To build user experiences that have a lasting impact, we have to produce content that can be easily understood by everyone.
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