I recently watched this TED talk by Daniel Kahneman about the experiencing self and the remembering self.
Apparently, they’re quite different. The experiencing self is the one who lives and feels in the moment. The remembering self is the one that engages in retrospective sense-making and decides, post-facto, whether the experience was good, fun, etc. It is the remembering self’s evaluation that informs future decision making.
This has enormous implications for UX evaluation. Even if the experiencing self has a (relatively) bad time, as Kahneman explains in the talk, but the remembering self makes a positive evaluation, the experience is remembered as good. We can measure UX in the moment, and track eye gaze and all that jazz. But ultimately, what really matters for future decisions is what users take away from the experience and how they evaluate it after it’s over. This is good news. It means that users may forget or put up with a few frustrations – and still assess the experience well, especially if it ends well. It also means that the research framework for website experience analysis that I created back in 2004 is valuable, because it focuses on how users make sense of the experience and what they take away.
I get this question a lot from undergraduate students interested in pursuing careers in user experience (UX):
If I want to pursue a career in UX, what kinds of courses should I take to prepare?
In addition to courses about user centered design (i.e. CGT 256 and possibly other new courses coming up in CGT at Purdue), it would help tremendously if you learn a bit of any combination from the disciplines below:
- programming – especially front end (e.g. CGT 141, 353, 356)
- human behavior – any courses that help you understand cognitive psychology: how people learn, how they process information, what gets their attention (visual attention), what motivates them, how they make decisions, how they communicate, how to communicate effectively with them, how to research human behavior – aka research methods in social science, especially qualitative, such as interviewing and observation (at Purdue, for example, PSY 121, PSY 200, PSY 240, PSY 285, COM 318, COM 307)
- business and marketing – it is important to understand how a digital product, say a company’s website, is related to the company’s business goals. For that, a bit of knowledge in business and marketing or entrepreneurship is very useful.
Are there jobs out there is UX?
Yes, tons – and thousands remain unfilled.
What exactly is UX?
The resources on this Pinterest board can help you understand UX.
How to I keep up with news about UX courses at Purdue?
If you need more guidance, please contact me, Dr. V.