Concept of Use

Your constantly-updated definition of Concept of Use and collection of topical content and literature

What is Concept of Use?

The concept of use has three contexts: useful, usable and used.

Together, these terms create the "concept of use".

Typically, designers bunch together the terms "useful" and "usable", while "used" is not mentioned as frequently.

A product is "useful" when several users agree that it is useful. Commercially speaking, enough people must find the product useful in order for profit to be generated. A product’s usefulness addresses a particular need or problem and thereby creates value.

A product may be "usable" but not useful. For example, a snow sled is not useful on a summer day, though it is still usable and functions properly. In the particular context, the snow sled is not useful. Usability simply means that it works and functions appropriately in the particular context and setting.

Finally, a product must be "used". Once a product is used, it means it has been successfully adopted and accepted by the customer base. In a sense, having customers use your product is one of the most important business goals.

Literature on Concept of Use

Here’s the entire UX literature on Concept of Use by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:

Learn more about Concept of Use

Take a deep dive into Concept of Use with our course User Experience: The Beginner’s Guide .

User experience, or UX, has been a buzzword since about 2005, and according to tech research firm Gartner, the focus on digital experience is no longer limited to digital-born companies anymore. Chances are, you’ve heard of the term, or even have it on your portfolio. But, like most of us, there’s also a good chance that you sometimes feel unsure of what the term “user experience” actually covers.

[User experience] is used by people to say, Im a user experience designer, I design websites, or I design apps. [] and they think the experience is that simple device, the website, or the app, or who knows what. No! Its everythingits the way you experience the world, its the way you experience your life, its the way you experience the service. Or, yeah, an app or a computer system. But its a system thats everything.

Don Norman, pioneer and inventor of the term user experience”, in an interview with NNGroup

As indicated by Don Norman, User Experience is an umbrella term that covers a number of different areas. When you work with user experience, it’s crucial to have a good understanding of what those areas are so that you know what tools are available to you.

Throughout this course, you will gain a thorough understanding of the various design principles that come together to create a user’s experience when using a product or service. As you proceed, you’ll learn the value user experience design brings to a project, and what areas you must consider when you want to design great user experiences. Because user experience is an evolving term, we can’t give you a definition of ‘user experience’ to end all discussions, but we will provide you with a solid understanding of the different aspects of user experience, so it becomes clear in your mind what is involved in creating great UX designs.

If you are new to the Interaction Design Foundation, this course is a great place to start because it brings together materials from many of our other courses. This provides you with both an excellent introduction to user experience and with a preview of the courses we have to offer to help you develop your future career. After each lesson, we will introduce you to the courses you can take if a specific topic has caught your attention. That way, you’ll find it easy to continue your learning journey.

All Literature

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