Usability and User Experience

Everyone talks about how any product (or website) you make has to be usable. However, making great products means that you have to try to combine between usability and user experience.

Eh? What’s the difference?

People often get confused between usability and user experience. But make no mistake: the two are not synonymous with each other.

Usability is high in a product when it is easy to use, intuitive and mistakes are difficult to make. Users instantly know what the product does and how to use it to accomplish what they want to get out of it.

User experience, however, is about emotion. It’s about how it feels when using the product. It excites passion, love and happiness.

Think of it like this. Imagine driving this:


It’s a milk float. Probably the most usable vehicle in the world. Easy, intuitive, and you can’t make many mistakes! However, you probably wouldn’t enjoy the drive much and you certainly won’t be showing it off to your friends.

But how about this one?


Aah, the Lamborghini Gallardo. What a beauty? Now, doesn’t that instill passion, excitement, love and desire? Driving that would give you top level user experience. In fact, you don’t even have to drive it to fall in love with it.

But the sad news is that it is very impractical for most of us. It costs a fortune, always breaks down and some have even reportedly caught fire without reason!

So, to make a product really worth it, you have to combine between usability and user experience. Sometimes there is a bit of trade off between the two but, with a bit of experimenting and determination, you can pull it off.

If you feel passion and love for your product, your customers will feel the same.

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About the Author

MKMohammed is a project manager and business consultant. He's an avid reader and loves to write.View all posts by MK →

  1. Great article, I like what you have written and it does give great insight into usability and user experience. However, I feel that usability and user experience are closely knitted with each other. It really depends what a user wants to achieve from what he/she is using. For instance, if you give Lamborghini to the milkman and ask him to deliver the milk, think about the user experience. The story differs when the user need is different. So, if user can meet its objectives/goals easily, quickly, hassle free environment, he got to perceive it as great usability and in turn have great experience.

  2. MKMK10-14-2009

    Chirag: Good point you made there