What Does a User Experience Architect Do?

Instructor: David Gloag

David has over 40 years of industry experience in software development and information technology and a bachelor of computer science

How experience affects us is very important to a number of people, and for various reasons. In this lesson, we'll take a look at user experience architects, and what they do.

Why One Over Another?

Have you ever wondered why some experiences thrill or entertain us, and others don't? Even those that appear to be the same on the surface? Movie goers, for example, loved the recent Marvel Studios movie, Captain America: Civil War, and hated the similarly premised DC Comics movie, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Some people like a McDonald's Big Mac, while others prefer a Burger King Whopper. Still others swear by BMW and their cars, while some gravitate to Honda. It comes down to our personal feelings on the various subjects, the questions we ask, and our answers to them. The area concerned with this information is called user experience.

What is User Experience?

User Experience (UX) is about how we react to the things around us; what we see, what we smell, what we hear, and what we feel. It is a collective impression that we use to help us form opinions on various things. Think about this morning's breakfast. Can you smell the coffee? Can you taste the jam on your toast? Can you feel the coolness of the metal spoon as you lift it? The answers to some of these questions will be positive, and some will be negative. But regardless of the individual answers, they will contribute to your overall impression of the meal, your user experience.

What Does a User Experience Architect Do?

User experience architects focus on controlling the outcomes of our experiences. It is their job to ensure that we arrive at a desired conclusion or conclusions when we come into contact with their product or service. In order to accomplish this, user experience architects follow a set of principles. They are:

  • Be Relevant - ensure that the experience presents a specific message or follows a theme, and that the experience promotes that message or theme.
  • Be Relatable - ensure that the user can relate to the experience. It must have meaning to them.
  • Be Leading - keep the user apprised of progress. In other words, provide status and error messages.
  • Be Clear and Concise - don't muddy the waters, or mince words.
  • Be Focused - stay on your message or theme. Don't get distracted, or introduce anything that leads the user away from your objective.

An Example

Okay, now that we know the principles, let's look at how a user experience architect would apply them. Consider the company Apple, and their iPhone 6 product. They deal in high-end products with top-notch materials, clean lines, and functional designs, so a user experience architect is going to promote those ideas.

For the experience to be relevant, the architect will promote materials, design, and functionality in the media coverage; metal casing, smooth surfaces, and Gorilla Glass immediately come to mind.

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