Online and Offline User Experience

14.03.2016 |

Episode #2 of the course “The Fundamentals of User Experience” by Cassius Kiani


Let’s start by looking at online and offline user experience.

When we refer to online user experience, we’re referring to the digital world. Anything that’s physically intangible will follow online laws of user experience—things like mobile applications or websites.

When referring to offline user experience, we’re talking about anything that’s physically tangible. Whether that’s cutlery, computers, or customer service, these are all things that exist outside the digital world.

Users crave happiness, pleasant experiences, and simple interactions. If something is frustrating, difficult, or awkward, then users will react adversely, and the experience will be poor.

Another important similarity is that users still feel the same feelings regardless of whether they’re online or offline. If users interact with something that makes them laugh or smile in the offline world, then the response will be almost identical if it is seen in the online world too.

Auto-appraisers (our senses) work regardless of whether we’re on our own or interacting with something else.

Fundamentally, interactions and the way we can respond change between online and offline user experiences.

When we’re interacting with the online world, we’re limited to doing so with our hands and voices by means of keyboards, mobile phones, etc. In the offline world, we interact in a multitude of ways, as we can engage our entire bodies.

The attention levels of a user also change. Offline attention levels are typically much higher than online. Even with the introduction of social media and mobile applications, there’s still less distraction in the physical world than the digital world.

More than anything, dealing with user experience comes down to understanding your user (which we’ll learn more about next), what they’re interacting with, and where.

Narrow down where users will interact with your product, whether that’s online or offline. If there’s a crossover between the two, then you’ll need to make sure both experiences are truly fantastic.

Clothing retailers are great examples of online and offline crossovers.

If you’re interested in seeing how to do things, then poke around H&M’s (or your favorite retailer’s) website and their stores. Note your thoughts (good or bad), then do the same at the end of this course; it’ll be exciting to see how much you’ve learned in just 10 days.


Recommended book

“The Design of Everyday Things” by Don Norman


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