User Experience Design: Beyond User Interface Design and Usability

This chapter explores the major challenges faced by current user-centered design (UCD) practices and introduces a user experience design (UXD) framework to address these challenges. Three case studies illustrate the UXD approach, and future research needs are discussed.

Major Challenges Faced by UCD

Limited Scope of UCD

User-centered design has been widely practiced by UX professionals, including human factors engineers, UX designers, and usability specialists. UCD focuses on understanding users, their environments, and their needs to develop usable products. Significant progress has been made in involving UX professionals earlier in product development and defining usability metrics. However, several challenges limit the potential of UCD practices.

Challenge 1: Addressing Total User Experience (TUX)

Norman (1999) defined UX as all aspects of a user's interaction with a product, including perception, learning, and use. This broad definition suggests that UX extends beyond UI design and usability. A UX ecosystem includes various stages of a product's lifecycle, such as early product marketing, product use, training, support, and upgrades. Users interact with a product through multiple touchpoints, including functionality, workflow, UI design, online help, user manuals, training, and support. Current UCD practices often fail to address this broader context, leading to suboptimal TUX.

Challenge 2: Predicting UX Evolution

UX evolves with user needs and technological advancements. However, current UCD practices do not adequately predict these changes to influence technology and business capability roadmaps. Technology and business roadmaps are typically driven by architects and product managers who focus on business and technology requirements. Without considering UX, delivered products may fail to meet user needs, resulting in poor market performance.

Challenge 3: Exploring Emerging UX

Identifying new UX trends and opportunities early is crucial for market success. Current UCD practices rely heavily on traditional market research methods, which may not fully capture real user behaviors and needs. UX professionals need to be more proactive in exploring emerging UX to influence product and platform development.

The UXD Framework

The UXD framework expands beyond UCD by addressing the entire UX ecosystem, involving continuous user engagement across all touchpoints, and predicting future UX trends.


UXD is a philosophy that emphasizes:

  1. Emergence of New UX: Identifying new UX opportunities early to shape market strategies and platform architecture.

  2. Continuous UX: Engaging with users throughout the product lifecycle, beyond just UI design.

  3. Evolutionary UX: Delivering predictable UX roadmaps to influence long-term technology and business strategies.


UXD enhances current UCD processes by incorporating:

  1. Broader Ecosystem: Addressing all TUX touchpoints throughout the UX lifecycle.

  2. Early Involvement: Engaging UX professionals early in the development process.

  3. Enhanced Methods: Using improved UCD methods and integrating conventional methods like marketing and training to support UXD activities.


UXD requires collaboration among stakeholders, including business process owners, user support teams, and technology developers. An organizational culture that fosters collaboration is essential for achieving UXD goals.

UXD Practices and Processes

Case Study 1: Addressing Total User Experience

Problem Statement

Intel planned to upgrade a large enterprise back-end database system, which required upgrading some front-end web-based applications. The chosen application suite had significant UX issues, leading to user dissatisfaction. A UXD solution was needed to address these issues comprehensively.


A UXD team was formed to address all TUX touchpoints, define success criteria, and track progress. This involved integrating UX into vendor selection, optimizing business processes, collaborating with vendors, and validating user readiness.

Steps Taken:

  1. Create a UXD Team: The team included representatives from various functional areas, such as quality assurance, business process, training, and user support.

  2. Define a TUX Scorecard and Tracking Process: Success criteria for all TUX aspects were defined, and checkpoints were established to monitor progress.

  3. Include HFE in PMO: Having a human factors engineer as part of the program management office increased the visibility and importance of UXD work.

  4. Incorporate UX into Vendor Selection: UX requirements were included in the vendor assessment scorecard.

  5. Leverage UX Data for Business Processes: Usability tests were conducted to optimize business processes based on TUX data.

  6. Collaborate with Vendors for UI Improvements: The UXD team worked with vendors to address critical usability issues.

  7. Adopt a User-Centric Approach to Training and Support: Training and support teams shifted focus from quantity to quality, based on user needs and UX validations.

  8. Validate User Awareness and Readiness: Surveys and communication materials ensured users were prepared for the new product.

  9. Conduct End-to-End TUX Testing: Simulated environment tests validated all TUX touchpoints with real end users.

Outcome: The upgraded solution, WEA2, saw significant improvements in user satisfaction, task completion time, and reduced support call volume, demonstrating the effectiveness of the UXD approach.

Case Study 2: Developing UX Roadmaps

Intel's internal business portal needed a UX roadmap to align technology and business capabilities with user needs over time. Previous projects had shown that mismatched technology and UX could lead to user frustration and poor adoption.


The UXD team conducted extensive user research to define a UX vision and guiding principles, which informed a UX roadmap. This roadmap influenced technology and business capability roadmaps, ensuring they aligned with user needs over time.

Steps Taken:

  1. Gather Data: User research included industry best practice reviews, information process mapping, interviews, and large-scale surveys.

  2. Analyze Data: Data analysis identified patterns and themes, leading to a UX vision and guiding principles.

  3. Define UX Vision and Guiding Principles: A clear UX vision and guiding principles were established based on user needs.

  4. Build a UX Roadmap: The roadmap outlined high-level UX elements and goals over time, without specifying technology capabilities.

Actionable Steps for Implementing UXD

  1. Assemble Stakeholders: Include representatives from UX, business processes, training, user support, and technology.

  2. Assign Roles: Clearly define roles and responsibilities for each team member to ensure all TUX touchpoints are covered.

Conducting TUX Gap and Needs Analysis

  1. Identify Gaps: Use surveys, interviews, and usability tests to identify UX gaps in current products.

  2. Analyze Data: Gather and analyze data from various sources (e.g., support calls, user feedback) to understand user needs and expectations.

Defining a UXD Scorecard and Tracking Process

  1. Set Success Criteria: Define measurable success criteria for all TUX aspects, beyond just UI usability.

  2. Implement Checkpoints: Establish checkpoints throughout the product lifecycle to monitor UX progress and take corrective actions as needed.

Executing and Collaborating on UXD

  1. Plan and Execute UXD Activities: Collaborate with team members to address all TUX touchpoints, including business processes, UI design, training, and support.

  2. Take Corrective Actions: Use data from checkpoints to make necessary adjustments and improvements.

Conducting End-to-End TUX Testing

  1. Simulate Real Environments: Conduct comprehensive TUX tests with real end users in simulated environments to validate all touchpoints.

  2. Identify and Address Issues: Use test results to identify any remaining UX issues and address them before product release.

Developing UX Roadmaps

  1. Gather Data: Conduct user research to gather data on UX gaps and needs.

  2. Define UX Vision and Principles: Establish a clear UX vision and guiding principles based on the collected data.

  3. Build and Review UX Roadmap: Draft the UX roadmap, review it with stakeholders, and iterate based on feedback.

  4. Align with Technology and Business Roadmaps: Ensure the UX roadmap is aligned with technology and business capability roadmaps to deliver optimal UX over time.

Identifying New UX Landing Zones

  1. Conduct Exploratory Studies: Use ethnographic and contextual inquiries to understand user behaviours and needs in real-life settings.

  2. Model User Usages: Analyze data to build comprehensive usage models that define user interactions and needs.

  3. Define UX Concepts: Develop new UX concepts and UI designs based on identified user needs and usage models.

  4. Validate UX Concepts: Conduct usability tests to refine interaction models and UI designs.

  5. Influence Platform Architecture: Use UX data to guide the development of platform capabilities that support new UX opportunities.

Final Thoughts

Implementing a UXD framework requires a proactive and comprehensive approach, involving early engagement, continuous improvement, and cross-functional collaboration. By expanding beyond traditional UCD practices, UXD ensures a more holistic and user-centered design process, ultimately leading to better products and more satisfied users.