What's the difference between usability and user experience?
Keith Kmett, CUA delivered an excellent presentation explaining basic definitions of the two concepts. While the two are closely related, usability and user experience are different, particularly because both disciplines care greatly about user satisfaction.
- Utility - Is the site useful? Does it meet the user's needs?
- Usability - Is the user able to use the product easily?
- Desirability - How well does the user enjoy the look and feel of the site?
- Brand experience - Does the user have an overall positive feeling about the brand/product while using the site?
- Learnability - How easy is it for the user to accomplish what they came to do on the site?
- Efficiency - How quickly are they able to complete tasks once they have learned to use the site?
- Memorability - When the user leaves the site and returns, are they able to reestablish proficiency? How easy will it be for them to recover from these errors?
- Satisfaction - How pleasant is it to use the site design?
Kmett explained that while user satisfaction is a component of both user experience and usability, the two disciplines are different. One possible explanation for the difference is that usability focuses on if the user can find the button on the site, while user experience focuses on what drives the user to push the button. Therefore, usability is only one component of user experience.
Kmett also discussed what qualities to look for when hiring a user experience professional and then facilitated an interactive discussion with the group to critique the design of a website with respect to both user experience and usability concepts.
A copy of the presentation is available here. For additional resources regarding user experience and usability, Kmett recommends:
If you were at the event, what did you find most interesting or what was your favorite part?