There’s more than a bit of poetic symmetry in the juxtaposition of user experience to the domain of customer experience.
Arnolfini Portrait — Jan van Eyck, 1434
User experience (or, simply UX) is a mise en abyme, a story within a story. At once, UX both informs and frames our nature of our solutions. Consider, for a moment, Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait, as the Flemish Renaissance master cleverly employs a convex mirror to reveal a small figure (some say it is the artist, himself) entering the room from behind the spectator.
To many, a line is simply an inconvenience, a burden into which we are all born and an experience we are doomed to suffer repeatedly throughout our lives. But, often, there is more to a line than we are led – ahem – to believe. Consider the last time you spent in line, perhaps for a desirable outcome, such as a hit movie or an aromatic beverage. Quite possibly, your line experience was not as random as you may think: The Secret Objectives of Queues.
As a UX designer, from the moment I discovered the user’s journey in my toolbox it wore a smudge like a ghost that I could neither fathom or shake. I was captivated by its mysterious doppelgänger, desperate for recognition, articulation and understanding.
What is experience? For every person, there is likely a very unique definition. To a job seeker, it’s a section on a resume. A traveler might define it in photos uploaded to Flickr. Another might speak of a spiritual journey.