Usability vs. user experience

At User Interface Engineering, Jared Spool has posted an interesting article discussing the difference between usability and user experience. Jared’s article describes a customer buying a camera online, and subsequent issues with getting the camera from the brick and morter store.

Though the customer was able to accomplish their goal of buying a camera online (usability), the customer ended up walking out of the store without the camera, resulting in a negative user experience.

As web professionals, even those of us involved with usability and user experience, I believe we often only focus on the online conversion or CTA, and not what happens afterward in the office or retail store. In Jared’s example, the online experience of ordering the camera went well, the customer found exactly what they wanted, and ordered the camera online.

Unfortunately, the good feeling the customer experienced in ordering the camera online disappeared after discovering the camera was out of stock at the store.

Your thoughts? As Jared asks, what can we do to improve the total overall user experience?

One thought on “Usability vs. user experience

  1. When I make on online purchase, I like to have a nice printout of the receipt. That way it’s something “concrete” in my hands and also serves as a proof-of-purchase. So after the online transaction is made, great care should be taken in providing a nice, printer-friendly version of the receipt for the user.


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