The Importance of User Experience

In Jesse James Garrett’s book, “The Elements of User Experience”, he discusses the importance on focusing on the user and their experience with a service or product in order for it to be successful. He opens up the book talking about anyone’s typical unfortunate day, where it turns in to a chain reaction all because of an alarm clock that failed to go off. 

We may not realize it, but the reason the alarm clock didn’t go off was completely out of the user’s hands…it was because the company who produced it failed to pay attention to one crucial detail: user experience, which is “the experience the product creates for the people who use it in the real world” (6). 

The ideal goal of a product or service is to have one that is “a well-designed product that does what it promises to do” (7). A good example Garrett uses to describe this is a company producing a chair. However, if you go to sit in that chair it it breaks, then clearly it is not a well-designed product since it is not serving its purpose or producing a satisfactory user experience. 



User experience on the web is extremely vital to a websites success. If you post broken links, low quality videos, misspelled articles, etc. clearly the user’s experience will not be very high. Garrett calls practicing user-friendly experiences via the internet, user-centered design.

Garrett also describes what he refers to as the Five Planes of a website:

1.) Surface Plane – what the site appears to be with images & text

2.) Skeleton Plane – placement of buttons, controls, photos, and blocks of text

3.) Structure Plane – defines how users got to a page and where they can go from there

4.) Scope Plane – what the features & functions of a website are

5.) Strategy Plane – what the people running the site want to get out of it and what the reader wants to get out of it

The five planes are very important aspects to keep in mind of a website. Ultimately, what is the end goal you hope to achieve through your web page.

Questions to Ponder:

1.) What are examples of websites you have been on with great user-experience?

2.) What is an example of a tangible product you have used that has failed in it’s user experience?