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Your choice of words matters

Yet another reason why designers and business folk talk past each other: people who are purposefully misleading to get attention.

I came to this presentation from Google on their Quality Score measure because someone referred to it by saying “Quality Score is a measure of user experience”. It obviously peaked my interest because it is precisely the qualitative characteristic of user experience that makes it hard to measure.

When you get to slide 4 you realize that Google knows better and defines Quality Score as “an automated measure of how relevant each of your keywords is to your ad text and to a user’s search query.”

It has nothing to do with measuring users’ experiences with anything whatsoever. I realize it sounds naive to be cranky about attention-grabbing people but it baffles me that people do this: misuse the notion of user experience to mean anything at all that they want. It is such a coward move. Be bold, say what you want to say!

More than that, I worry that people just have no clue what they are talking about. Because it that is the case, it is even more worrisome. If people engaged at this level of discussion (i.e.: what measures to use) don’t understand a basic thing such as what user experience means (at its most basic what PEOPLE experience when they INTERACT with something), then we’re all very far from being able to have progress in advancing the conversation about measuring success in the context of user experience.

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