24
April
2008

User Memories 16:12 on Thursday

If user experience is often used to refer to the immediate experiences of users — the encounters between users and products, the moments of engagement or communication — maybe we should have another name for the “total” user experience, the sum of experiences a user has of a product.

What about User Memories? This would refer to the things a user remembers about a product.

Personally I can relate to the analogy of the User Memories being a sum of User Experiences: If a product is not outright bad, does its thing, but feels slightly awkward every time I use it, I tend to think of it as a “bad product” (our digi-tv box comes to mind). The sum of small negatives makes up a large negative.

On the other hand, the User Memory of a product could be colored by a single more significant event: A hard disk video recorder might work great with a pleasant user interface, except that one time it suddenly erased all the shows recorded on it. A large negative experience outweighs the small positives, even when summed together.

How to design the User Memories — that is a challenge.

Somehow catalysed by the introduction to Markkinoinnin musta kirja, a Finnish book on much the same subjects as our own book.

3 Responses to “User Memories”

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  3. PA Says:

    The definition of user experience is rather fuzzy but at least Mäkelä and Suri include the history aspect to the concept:

    A user’s experience is a result of a motivated action in a certain context. The user’s previous experiences and expectations influence the present experience, and the present experience leads to more experiences and modified expectations.

    P. 32: http://lib.tkk.fi/Diss/2002/isbn9512263076/isbn9512263076.pdf

  4. Niko Says:

    I like to include history in the concept of user experience too. My problem is mostly semantic: are we talking about experience as in a wow moment, or experience as in “an experienced individual” or “life long experience”. Hence, I’m trying to find a new word for the latter. Calling the long-term experience(s) memories is an attempt at that, finding a new word — I’m just not sure how good one.