The Elements of User Experience


This famous illustration nicely sums up the elements of user experience design. It was created by Jesse James Garrett who also founded Adaptive Path – a user experience consulting company.

As you can see, he defined the layers behind the surface layer of an interface.  Have you heard the saying, “Putting lipstick on a pig”?  Well, that’s what you end up with if you don’t think through the four layers behind the visual design surface.  Because J.J.G. is my hero and because this illustration changed my life, I thought I’d see how much impact he’s had on other people’s lives by using some social media tracking tools to see what people are saying about Adaptive Path.

Using the site I found many mentions of “adaptivepath” and discovered the following sentiment:

1. A YouTube video from UX Week 2013, on Adaptive path’s channel – 203 views and 2 likes (sentiment = +1)

2. A YouTube video from UX Week 2013, on Adaptive path’s channel “How to lead change gracefully” – 110 views and 0 likes (sentiment = 0)

3. A YouTube video from UX Week 2013, on Adaptive path’s channel “The Simplicity Imperative” – 126 views and 0 likes (sentiment = 0)

4. Some cool sketches on Flickr, one titled “Seeing Customer Value Differently” – with 33 views, no comments or favourites (sentiment = 0)

5. An article on Boing Boing from Aug. 2008 which garnered 31 comments – some of which were crotchety but mostly positive (sentiment = +1)

6. A very positive blog link announcing the adaptive path ipad app (sentiment = +1)

7. A blog post on Venture Beat discussing the co-founder (Jesse James Garrett’s partner) is leaving the consulting company to open an agency = (sentiment = +1)

8. An article on the  Scientific American blog on Adaptive Path’s fancy web browser:  Aurora (sentiment = +1)

In hopes of finding stronger mentions on social media I switched to  and found 177 mentions for “adaptive path”.

9. A blog post on the shifting field of user experience design, which linked back to an adaptive path article.  Although the blog boasts 389,266 visitors I saw no comments on this article (sentiment = 0)

10. There are tons of Flickr photos of people happy with the adaptive path conference they attended – 75 views, 0 shares, 0 favourites (sentiment = 0) wasn’t giving me very comprehensive results so I moved to Twitalyzer and learned Adaptive Path has 27,935 followers, an impact score of 5.8 and 56 on Klout.  However, I didn’t get any links to mentions.

In conclusion, the sentiment around Adaptive Path is generally positive.  I’ve realised I’m pretty nerdy for considering this guy my hero and although they have a lot of press out there, not a lot of people are actually talking about them – their fan base a mainly the lurking kind.