#56 Useful, usable, delightful

It’s been decades since the UX has become a mainstream, and essential part of product development.

But even as of today, many people seem to have limited views of what UX is.

Some people might think UX is just making things pretty. Other people might think UX is about making wireframes. Other people might think UX is just about usability, and use the term usability and UX interchangeably. 

All those are part of UX.

The field of UX is pretty broad.

One of simple ways to help people understand the UX better is to visualize UX layers in concentric circles like below. Useful, usable, delightful (or desirable). This shows 3 most important, fundamental values of UX.


This is the most fundamental and important part of a product or a service. A product needs to be useful. A product needs to provide a value that solves a user’s particular problem. In reality this might not be something a UX designer is part of in defining. By the time a UX designer is brought in, this might be already defined by a PM (product manager).


This is the next most important aspect of UX. The product experience should be easy to use. Rather, it should be as easy and clear as possible. This is where usability comes in to play. In many cases, this is where a UX designer typically focuses on the most, by creating wireframes, UX flows, prototypes, and conducting user tests.

But that’s not all.


The most outer layer is being delightful, or desirable. Ideally, a product should not only be useful and easy to use, but also delightful to use. This is where things like pleasing visual design and smooth animation come in to play.

But making things fancy and pretty is just one aspect of being delightful.

The most valuable “delight” is achieved, when everything works flawlessly without a user even noticing it, because everything works so intuitively.

This includes the clarity of the overall UX flow without any confusions.

Information organization.

A clear feedback through effective micro-interactions that constantly give you visual feedback on actions that you take.

Clear messages that give you confidence and a peace of mind throughout the process.

And so on.

The next time you see someone in your team who seems to have a limited understanding of UX, explaining about these 3 layers might help that person further understand the value of UX.

Check out YouTube version too.

Previous articles on delightful.

#9 Delight from Office Depot LIFT & PRESS envelope

#29 Delightful OOBE from a boring home product

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