An astringent paradox that has puzzled each emerging designer over the work or a student venturing into the field of interaction design or a seasoned practitioner of the art once in a life. The question has ruled every User Interface & Experience Design Job interview and even the empirical explanations over the archaic popular books like “The Design of Everyday Things” by Don Norman.
Yet the more one tries to dissect and understands it the more complex it appears. There is no holistic explanation one will come across that can justify the term and it seems possibly inseparable from each other. Every definition on Wikipedia or one existing over internet appears fractional and contradictory, especially when one tries to wear the shoes of being a User Interface Designer or User Experience Designer. One left being questioned to himself and by others “Who am I ?” or “What do you do ?”
After years of being into the profession and teaching in university the subject, I came across the instances where I ended up giving numerous explanations to my students and clients at various occasions ending up deciphering the difference and concurrence in, as non complex manner as possible, in some of these ways:
Love and Sex
This soul was often infatuated with those charming looks; the big assets, lingering perfume and priceless flaunting clothes. The insane desire of getting laid was at a peak as we know the looks cannot only deceive but kill. It was time for that empirical action for the greatest good of lust and satisfaction.
The blood was gushing through the body and hormones setting free. Those moments of pleasure emerging from looks gave the experience which turned to a memorable night.
The action repeated again and again and they decided to continue. They started finding their souls in each other and started resting together. The love grew each passing day when they decided to unite as soulmates.
The sex like a good interface built an experience of everlasting love and those looks like an interface laid out a memorable experience for sex.
Desert and an Expensive Car
A soul decided to plan a vacation after being daunted by everyday chores since eternal years. Its love for self-driving made it drive a car from its home to the final destination. Starting from home, it went straight joining the highway which was a linear long road. After a few light-years, it came to a halt where it can turn left and continue towards destination via obnoxious desert or go right via the lush green forest. It decided to go through the desert as it will be more pleasant, silent, predator-free and boring. It turned left, then straight, another left and then right, little more straight and final left and there it was amongst the skies breathing the air of freshness. It was the feeling of freedom and joy to experience the gushing wind amid high risen clouds after the light-years of a drive across the zillion kilometer of deserts.
After completing the journey the soul reached its final destination where it experienced bliss and joy. The path that was set for it to reach its destination was a guide defining its experience over the journey.
This soul had an option to select a car in the beginning, from BMW Z4, Audi A4, Fiat 550, Honda Civic and Buggati Veyron. The car like an interface that has altered the experience to a constant but without altering the final destination.
Picking Desert over Forest like an interface has altered the experience to a greater good but without changing the ultimate destination. The soul noticed those dunes of sands and cactus ferns which blends into the rising sun amidst silent ruins. These slight objects of the interface made the experience vivid keeping the amusement at peak but the path towards the destination never altered.
The Cheese Pie
This soul loved cheese pies since eternity. Once it came across 2 cheese pies and both of them read “Healthy Cheese Pies with only 200 calories”. The soul was tempted by the one loaded with cheese on top and without taking a moment ordered the one.
Each cheese pie had 50 grams of cheese. One had cheese inside dough making it a feast; when one bites, the cheese oozes and stretches. The other was loaded with cheese on top and it appeared miracle to vision.
In the end cheese lover consumed 200 calories but the interface with cheese topping influenced the choice immediately without letting it consider the other option of feasting experience.
Deck of Playing Cards
A soul had a deck of ordinary playing cards which it was trying to sell. Others watched the deck but it looked ordinary and mundane and they passed by. They perceived it as normal and common.
Once the soul pulled out this ordinary deck of cards and asked someone to pick a card. Someone picked a Nine of Hearts and returned it putting in the middle of the deck. With a snap and poof, the card returned to the top. Everyone was startled and astonished.
They wanted to buy the deck immediately and someone was ready to pay 10 times the original selling price.
The ordinary-looking interface was sold for 10x as the experience it projected bypassed its intrinsic value.
A soul was advised to drink Special Water for a month to boost mental focus by a healing practitioner. The soul found a colourful shimmer bottle radiating with prismatic colours labeled Healing Water and started drinking that special transparent water.
Each day the soul gets a new bottle savouring that Elixir water.
After a month the miracle happened and the soul observed that its problem of focusing started seeing improvement.
The next day it went to the practitioner and asked for the special contents of the healing water. The practitioner revealed that it’s ordinary tap water interfaced as healing water and the experience it imparted caused the miracle.
This leads us to the deeper observation citing the concurrence and dependance of Interface and Experience uniting and defining that thin line that co-exists.