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The etymology of user experience

Robert Fox (Hesburgh Library, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, USA)

Digital Library Perspectives

ISSN: 2059-5816

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




The psychology of user experience is sometimes overlooked in favor of assumptions based on didactic principles that do not apply to the use of the Web. This column aims to explore the implications of some psychological principles that bear on user interface (UI) design and the implications those principles may have for the digital library.


This is a regular column – a literature review was completed and incorporated into the text.


Common perceptual biases, particularly related to our perception of the material world, heavily influence our interaction with Web UIs. Aligning Web UI design with our hardwired expectations regarding physical space and material objects has the possibility of increasing the effectiveness of those interfaces.


The psychology of user design is an important area of concern, and it should be considered by libraries engaged in the provisioning of online content and services. This has not been extensively explored in the literature, and these principles are rarely adhered to in the library community. The primary example given that seems to have successfully taken this seriously in the commercial sector is Google’s promotion of a recommendation called Material Design.



Fox, R. (2017), "The etymology of user experience", Digital Library Perspectives, Vol. 33 No. 2, pp. 82-87.



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