is there such a thing as 'The End User Experience'?

'End User Experience' is often referred to when talking about how users consume services but, given that we are all experience things in different ways, is there really such a thing or does it all depend on who the 'end user' is and what they're doing at the time?

I was prompted to think about this following my own personal experience over the various public holidays we have been fortunate to enjoy in the UK recently. Most of the people I interact with are based outside of the UK so don't share the same holidays and often try to contact me when I'm 'away'.

My usual 'Out of Office' mode is to change voicemail and email to explain that I'm out and give emergency contact details in case they really need to get hold of me but I usually check email in any case so that there are no surprises when I get back to work and I can turn requests for information around quickly before I'm back to work.

Because of who I work for most of what I use is in some kind of Cloud and I've got a variety of ways of picking up messages and working when 'Out of Office' ranging from tapping away on my iPhone to firing up my well-worn laptop if I've got it with me. I've recently been using an iPad as well for the half-way house when I'm travelling but don't want the weight of a laptop (and my children find it very useful for keeping in contact with Facebook).

Consequently my 'End User Experience' depends on multiple factors such as:

  • which device am I using
  • where am I
  • what am I doing (I don't do email when I'm actually driving!)
  • am I in-transit or stationary
  • am I thinking like I'm 'at work', 'at home', 'on holiday', 'business travel'...
  • have I got wifi, cellular access, or no network at all
  • can I get at the information and/or documents I need

So, if my 'End User Experience' varies so much, is is valid to talk about a generic 'End User'? Or do we always need to describe the individual circumstances to make our experience relevant?

Peter Glock

With management roles in sales, marketing, and strategy I have over 30 years in IT and telecoms specializing in transformation projects.