When I first came across the term UX, I had no idea what it was, but it sure seemed really cool which caused me to do a little more research. The first thing I came across was this video which really helped to clarify;
Alright so now you know a little more about user interface design, lets go into the two basic types of design processes for UX.
Alan Cooper is one of the pioneers of UX design. In his book About Face 3 he states; “If we design and construct products in such a way that the people who use them achieve their goals, these people will be satisfied, effective, and happy and will gladly pay for the products and recommend that others do the same. Assuming that this can be achieved in a cost-effective manner, it will translate into business success”.
So good design makes the user effective, interesting. Alan Cooper in invented the process of design known as a the goal oriented process. This process is based around the idea that users have deep seeded, passionate and reasonable goals. If you an design something that not only helps users achieve these goals but also is a blast to use then you have created the perfect product.
On the flip side of the coin you have what is called activity based design, which is attributed to designer Don Norman, famous for his book The Design of Everyday Things. You can guess at what this process is based around…that’s right the activity that users perform. Don argues against goal centered design and said it “only gives us a snapshot of that person… And users are nebulous, various, with a host of different strategies and approaches. Designing to serve “the user” often leads to lowest-common denominator design”. (src: http://www.peterme.com/archives/000549.html)
The camps are definitely divided each arguing that their way is the correct way. Which way is correct? I guess that depends on you and how you tackle as certain project as well as the end goal/design/product of the project. I believe that each has it’s own strengths in certain situations and only experience can tell you when to use which.
For a little fun here are two videos for you to check out. One is of Alan Cooper talking design and the other is of Don Norman, Enjoy!