Good UX and Bad UX Need Each Other

Gregory Bateson said “All experience is subjective.”
No doubt about that. Each individual is unique. What you think it’s good, might be bad for me or other people.
The question is, can you really design a good experience for most of your users? How do you make sure that most of the users will have good experiences when using your app?

Let’s start with yourself: How do you know when you’re having a good experience? Most of the time, you will compare it (conciously or not) to another experience that you had before.

For instance, grouping friends in your social network is hard with Facebook, I keep forgetting how to do that on Facebook, then Google+ introduced an easier way to group people, they have a very nice interaction by drag-and-drop your friends to a circle.
It makes the experience of grouping people on Google+ is good, because I remember how hard it is for doing the same thing on Facebook.

So now we know one thing: you know you have a good experience when you can compare it to a bad one. Good User Experience and bad User Experience need each other.

How can you take advantage of this? It’s very easy. When you do something better than what’s already in the market, tell your users about that. You should even encourage the users to try competitor’s app.
Tell them what’s good about your product, but don’t ‘attack’ competitor’s product. Let the users experience it by themselves.
If you really do it better than the competitor, than your users will know. They’ll have a good User Experience with your app.

3 thoughts on “Good UX and Bad UX Need Each Other

  1. This is the same old theological argument that it’s impossible to have good without evil. I don’t agree. You can certainly have a world where everything exists on a scale from Normal to Wonderful. Knowing how good your experience is, is only important for auditing purposes. Especially when you are living in the moment, experiencing “flow”, you have no need for reflective comparison.

    Any level of awesome can exist perfectly fine entirely on its own.

    • Hi Hoby,

      I’m not saying that it’s impossible to have good UX without bad UX.
      The way the mind is wired, is that we’re always looking at the things around us in relationship to others. We can’t help it.

      I agree with you, that any level of awesomeness can exist perfectly fine entirely on its own, and I’m gonna add that we know how to appreciate something better when we can compare it to something else.

      Thanks for the good insight!


  2. Pingback: Cognition & The Intrinsic User Experience | UX Magazine |

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