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

Ulla Bunz bunz at scils.rutgers.edu
Thu Jan 30 06:47:26 PST 2003

Okay, I see how the term "user experience" can be interpreted in two
ways. I'm familiar with usability. 
I do think that there is a link between usability and competency.
Actually, some of my research has shown that if you reach a certain
level in one (so, decent usability, or medium level competency), it
doesn't matter if the other one is low/bad. You'll make do.
I'm delighted that we are having this conversation. I bet some people
would interpret "user experience" like you did, and some would like I
did. So, Thomas needs to make sure he clearly defines it in his book.
Thanks for the clarification.

Ulla Bunz
Assistant Professor
Department of Communication
Rutgers University
4 Huntington Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Email: bunz at scils.rutgers.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: air-l-admin at aoir.org [mailto:air-l-admin at aoir.org] On Behalf Of
Louise Ferguson
Sent: Thursday, January 30, 2003 9:35 AM
To: air-l at aoir.org; air-l at aoir.org
Subject: RE: [Air-l] key terms/concepts for understanding the web

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)
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
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
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

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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