You are on page 1of 8

[USER

EXPERIENCE VS
DESIGN]
AN ESSAY ON

SUBMITTED BY:
SANJAY UPRETY

SUBMITTED BY:
NIRAJ BABU SHRESTHA
069/BAE/221

USER EXPERIENCE VS DESIGN


ABSTRACT: Between the depth of the proximity you feel towards dream and the strike of
reality, you wonder if the ideality of this city is anything but hoax or closer to future. You
walk on the same street, drive on the same road you have been ever since your identity
blended with the soul of this city; and the question arises, isnt improving, reinstating,
redefining, planning (or every other thesaurus you can think of) this city means improving
you, every tiny thing and even the undefined city pattern. It should be, in ideal condition.
But is it?
Architectural design, in ideal condition, is a user experience design on both physical and
spatial level, whereas spaces thus created in the form of buildings, structures or any
framework are the interfaces and platforms that the users can interact with. Having said
that, there exists the accumulative relationship between what the designers design, even
if it just a room or a building or even a whole city, and what the users experience in the
designed module. The design should incorporate the human behavior, their social pattern
and even their psychological interpretation on physical world. User Experience on the
other hand is rather a vague entity and can be argued if it leads or lags the design.
Growth of the city, Kathmandu for the live tale, not only means the addition of urban
structure but also the changes within the existing configuration. These changes either
conflict the human pattern or improvises the interaction in response to the design. If we
solely focus on the distribution of the zebra crossings over this city, we can find variant
of results from different neighborhood and lanes. Here the results mean the adoptive and
correct use of zebra crossing. The correct spacing of zebra crossing according to the
zoning and social mobilization in areas like Singh Durbar have largely addressed the
user experience whereas in most parts of the city the haphazard distribution of zebra
crossings have diminished the value within thereby challenging the settlement planning
of the city.
If we analyze the planning and setting of the older or traditional settlement of the valley,
the concentric layout with radial connection defined the social setting of the then period.
Such design was the governing factor over the human pattern, thus the user experience
was incorporated in the design of the settlement. The establishment of chowks, dharas
and their design addressed the human factor abstractly called user experience. On the
other instance the modern settlement previews a different combination of how design
aligns with the user experience. The importance in design towards the individuality of
the urban settlement like houses, supermarket, etc has failed to address the social mass
and human pattern as a whole. The users interact or use such design in different way, if
not in a wrong way, than what original design had conceived to. Now what happens is
that, the user experience shifts the goal of the design. May be the purpose of the design
is unmutilated but the direction gets shifted. Such deviation may lead to the failure of
the planning.

User experience and design exist in duality. Yes, the design must address the UX but
there should be flexibility of how the growth and change be incorporated without the
major shifting of planning. User experience is the sole reason for the expansion of the
city and thereby of the consecutive planning. And when we observe the growth of
Kathmandu in last few decades, the weight in the above fact rings a bell. The necessity
of wider roads, the formation of newer pathways, the need of a multi-purpose spaces and
structures are the result of user experience. So what and how will this affect the design??
How do we flair between the two governing sides of the coin, user experience and
design?? Well design thinking on emphatic level may provide an insight for this.
Everything designed should be rooted in emotions. However it may sound, the design
should have emotional attachment with the platform it is based on. Also, it should bring
about the empathic change in users. And changing people on an empathic level is the
spark that will bring about desirable change in the spaces, structures, and interactions we
design.
Urban planning design can also affect the functionality and usability of urban pattern.
Wayfinding is an important aspect of any growing city and an important part of the
concept of smart cities.
No matter how a city is integrated with advanced technologies to improve a citizens
quality life, it would be worthless if people are to abuse the wayfinding system and do not
follow the rules in a city. For example, zebra crossing is one of the wayfinding features
commonly found in roadways systems. Many drivers violate this code of traffic and
challenge pedestrians walking on the zebra crossing, causing chaotic and dangerous
situations on the roads.
Some irrational infrastructure design appearing in the new city planning and development
in China reveal that there is insufficient application of a wayfinding concept and theory
based on a users need and experience, like the bus station and bush fencing is constructed
in the middle of the zebra crossing. The road crossing function and the bus
waiting/loading and unloading functions are crashing. This is a representative example of
irrational urban planning thus failing to address users requirement.
In this field study report, it is revealed that though the proposed smart city may emerge
with new high-tech applications, a poor wayfinding design in urban infrastructure system
would decrease its efficiency and weaken the city image. Marcus, Aaron (2014, p. 314)
What difference should the design give in the outlook to address the evident question of
changing user experience? Well it is mainly required to convince the society and users to
follow it. It should provide users the emotional attachment with the given project, space or
even a product. For example, the closer view of our society points the excessive or
unnecessary use of bike and private vehicles. Use of two wheelers is a strong part of our
society. People use two wheelers even for a distance which can be easily covered by
walking. So is two wheelers such an essential part of our society? Should we promote the
unnecessary usage of them or rather provide an alternative or even a better option? It all
depends upon the sentiment that the design can address. The provision for better

pathways or any other motivating connecting spaces in between can promote a better
alternative.
If we observe our city and compare it with any other developed cities like LA, Paris it
becomes evident how the result from the comparison between user experience and design
can overall help to organize the urban development. The designers evaluate the need of the
users rather than the requirement of the physical aspect of the city. The buffer spaces
between neighborhoods, the well spacing of infrastructure, the focus on distribution of
facilities according to the density of need and requirement privileges the fair contribution
for both design and quality assessment of urban life. Having all said, it all comes down to
the human behavior because whatever carefully constructed design stands for becomes a
failure if the human behavior doesnt radically align with the design. There arises a big
challenge regarding this as the omnipresence of diversity among the population.
Considering the factions and group of population in Kathmandu on the basis of social,
economical, cultural and regional (result of migration), the need for satisfying each faction
is a challenging task. But it must attempt to incorporate the sentiment to address all the
factions requirements and needs.
Over the past centuries of infinite struggle within the city of how the life of congestion
slowly gripping over our society, the urban management has been a major sense of worry.
The formulation of strategies and interactive planning is the need of time. The internal
migration to the capital is at peak with the current national issues. Now there is the
imperative question: Doesnt the facilities should be increased and projected to grow
along with this unusual pattern of human migration? Also there lies the major need of
the design to change this pattern. This means not a particular urban system within a
established urban settlement but also to the overall development of subsidiary settlements.
This is a very complex and big picture of how the use of design development changes the
pattern of user experience.
Now what we have to understand is that user experience and design is not only the issue of
architecture or urban planning, but also to various aspects of the lives; from material to
experiential, to psychological to every day need. It is a philosophical experience of the
human mind. And the need of the accomplishment of the psychological satisfaction of
each individual is rather the most important aspect of this whole debate. How the user
experience reopens itself through nature and by technological advancement are two sets of
a perfectly overlapping condition.
I open my eyes. Lush light floods the room, birds chatter. It is only 6:30 o'clock in the
morning, but I feel well-rested and alive; time to get up, to brew some coffee. Are you
jealous of my morning routine? Were you startled out of your sleep by a merciless alarm
clock? Was it dark outside, no birds around, and did you feel groggy and bleary-eyed?
This is about experiences created and shaped through technology (aka User Experience)
and how to deliberately design those. The wake-up experience created by an alarm clock
substantially differs from the experience created by sunrise and happy birds. The question
is whether we can create technology which understands the crucial features of sunrise and
birds and which succeeds in delivering a similar experience, even when the sun refuses to
shine and the birds have already left for Africa.

In fact, the experience I described in the beginning was not created by sun and birds, but
by Philips' Wake-Up Light. This is a crossing of an alarm clock and a bedside lamp. Half
an hour before the set alarm, the lamp starts to brighten gradually, simulating sunrise. It
reaches its maximum at the set wake-up time and then the electronic birds kick in to make
sure that you really get up. Admittedly, it is a surrogate experience, but so are love stories
and travel novels. It is artificial, but not vulgar. And more importantly, it substantially
changes the way one wakes up. It changes the experience. The Philips Wake-Up Light has
nevertheless the power to "transcend its encasing" because its contribution is not one to
the aesthetics of things, but to the aesthetics of experiences. This is the challenge
designers and vendors of interactive products face: Experience or User Experience is not
about good industrial design, multi-touch, or fancy interfaces. It is about transcending the
material. It is about creating an experience through a device.
Above passage describes rather in simpler words about how there is the change of mode of
our daily passage of living (User experience in more accurate term) due to the
incorporation of design (here alarm clock is taken as the design or additional factor). So it
is more about the impact of the design however insignificant it may seem. There does not
need to be brutal change to the fact of the normal transcend of experience through
design. But it necessarily has to be psychological for it incorporates the basic human
desire and the improvement in the way of living of users.
How the design should be then?? Lets consider the minute structure of human life rather
than the whole city or a town into consideration. Does it have to be materialistic?? Or
should the design be more initiative to human purpose from material to experiential. If the
design, even if we take as the product design for the simplicity, it should rather focus on
the emotional value of the product rather than the tangibility of it.
Experience is an almost overwhelmingly rich concept, with a long history of debate and
many attempts to "define" it (Jay 2004). These experiences are memorized stories of use
and consumption and distinct from the immediate moment-by-moment experience .While
the immediate moment-by-moment experience is certainly interesting, memorized
experience is of more practical relevance. This is simply because most of our waking time,
we are feasting on vivid memories of the past (or anticipations) rather than on immediate
pleasures. The construction of experiences as stories from moment-by-moment experience
is not straightforward. While an experience is a complex fabric of feelings, thoughts, and
actions, I believe emotions and fulfilment of universal psychological needs to have an
accentuated role. Although emotions are certainly complex, they all share an inherent
evaluation, pleasure and pain, which provide "the yardstick on which qualitatively
different possibilities can be compared" (Russell 2003, p. 153). So isnt the design
responsible for the pragmatism of the experiential outlook?
Here is where the architecture part strikes for connecting the gap between design and user
experience. There is two-way fold relation in this. Firstly, an important part of architecture
is the design of the navigation, orientation and way-finding through and within spaces.
User experience design also encompasses the design of those aspects; the difference is in
the materials used to embody those designs.

Secondly, as an architect, you represent the voice of the client throughout the design and
build process. You are constantly mediating between the various engineers and trades
people, while representing the needs of the client. As a user experience designer you are
representing the needs of the end-user throughout the product design and development
process while mediating between the various stakeholders such as project management,
development and quality assurance (Jennifer Fraser,2011). But it does not necessarily
have to show the inexplicable bond between the architecture we know and the user
experience design that we are talking about. Architecture is all about the permanence of
the product (buildings, or any space and even material). The thing about architecture in
modular concept is the longevity of the design against the time constraint. We can take
plenty of examples like Roman, Greek, Newari, Gothic architecture, etc which has
restrained the deterioration of their essence along the time frame. But user experience
design is rather imperative and constantly evolving with the need and technological
advancement. So the current built environment may present various meanings and forms
with the time variation. It more accurately pin points the flexibility in architecture rather
than the stability.
Aside from all the similarities in processes from requirements gathering to design
iteration, to mediation and negotiation during the construction phase, the one obvious
difference between architecture and user experience design is the lifespan of the resulting
product. Compared to most buildings designed by an architect, the majority of products
created by user experience designers are relatively ephemeral. In some ways, this is a
good thing as rapid, iterative releases allows us to continually improve and modify our
products in response to changing requirements and customer needs. As an architect, the
implicit permanence of designing a building carries with it a sense of responsibility I
cant help but wonder if we would have better designed products if some of that
responsibility and sense of permanence of architecture found its way into what we do as
user experience designers. (Jennifer Fraser, 2011).
We know that even the best UX designs probably wont stand as long as the Coliseum
has, but they should still be developed with the future in mind. This is done by ensuring
that designs are scalableable to grow and adapt as needs change.Scalability is especially
relevant in light of the speed at which our device market is developing. As digital
agency Punchcut puts it, Designers and developers have to create interface solutions that
feel native across platforms and device typesCareful considerations for each device are
necessary.Well-thought-out designs account for change right from the starttheyre easy
to revise and build upon, with elements that move freely.
If we go back to the larger scale of the user experience design, we can find the tiny
aperture to look to the overall planning and architecture. A Street solely made for the
vehicular movement without the attention to pedestrian movement is not feasible for the
larger proportion of the urban pattern. The longevity of the design considering the public
movement lasts surely longer and incorporates more flexible dimension.

Every breath this city takes; it represents the life which we live. So the design, in both
macro and micro level should address the user interface of the city.
User experience design (UX Design) is essentially what it sounds likethe art of creating
a particular experience for the user of your service or product. Although it can technically
encompass any part of a user experience from start to finish (delivery methods, packaging,
aftercare), we most often associate the discipline with the development of interfaces for
websites and applications. User experience design is nuanced work that requires in-depth
planning, a profound understanding of your imagined visitors needs, and thoughtful
construction. In these regards and many others, great User Experience design feels a lot
like great architecture. The best User |Experience design is often a labor of love, filled
with trial and error and in accordance to human emotions and feelings. Refining your
strategy can take timebut like they say, Rome wasnt built in a day.

Bibliography
FRASER, JENNIFER. What I bring to UX from... Architecture, 2013.
Hassenzahl, Marc. User Experience and Experience Design, 2013: 10.
Lazaro, Helena. WHAT DOES USER EXPERIENCE DESIGN HAVE TO DO WITH
ARCHITECTURE?, 2014.
Marcus, Aaron. Design, User Experience and Usability. Herraklion,Greece:
Springer, 2014.
Design, User Experience and Usability. Greece: Springer, 2014..
Hekkert, P. & van Dijk, M. (2011). Vision in Design: A Guidebook for
Innovators. Amsterdam: BIS.
Schifferstein, H.N.J. & Hekkert, P. (Eds.)(2008). Product Experience.
Amsterdam: BIS