[Air-l] key terms/concepts for understanding the web

Louise Ferguson lou at louiseferguson.com
Thu Jan 30 06:35:08 PST 2003

At 09:21 30/01/2003 -0500, Ulla Bunz wrote:
>There were two terms listed so far, literacy and user experience.
>I'm suggesting to use "competency" instead. In order to use Internet
>technologies (competently), you have to have literacy, but go beyond
>literacy, which is too text-bound. And you have to go beyond mere
>experience as in, how long have you used it, and which of the following
>5 things have you done. Competency really implies a much broader array
>of skills, knowledge, and even attitude.

I beg to differ. User experience (the old-fashioned term was usability) has 
nothing to do with 'competence' and everything to do with the quality of 
what is provided to the user in terms of the user's needs and wants.

I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding here - user experience is 
not about 'what - past - experience the user has', i.e. it is not part of a 
learning process. It is widely understood as a term that represents the 
idea: 'what is the user's experience?'. Totally different concept.

Competency is not the issue at all (how competent does one have to be to 
use the Habitat website? - well, not event the most competent person in the 
world can use it satisfactorily i.e. the user experience is diabolical. 
Competency, in fact, has to do with that old chestnut 'intuitiveness' or 
'intuitable-ness', which is fundamentally to do with previous experience.

Louise Ferguson

>Ulla Bunz
>Assistant Professor
>Department of Communication
>Rutgers University
>4 Huntington Street
>New Brunswick, NJ 08901
>Email: bunz at scils.rutgers.edu
>Air-l mailing list
>Air-l at aoir.org

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