Towards a Total Quality of Experience (TQX)

Session Title

Towards a Total Quality of Experience (TQX)


Uday Gajendar

Session Type: Presentation

There are certain core elements that comprise a “good” user experience which interaction designers know and cherish. Is there a way to articulate it all in a compact, quickly digestible form that communicates well with impatient business execs used to acronyms like ROI, TCO, and TQM? This talk proposes a new approach to framing user experience beyond UCD and ROI, towards something called “a total quality of experience” or TQX.

TQX suggests a way to 1) systematically define the major elements of a digital product/service experience 2) cooperatively engage the various players of such a project and 3) set up some measurable vectors of success. TQX encapsulates the core aspects that comprise a good user experience in easily digestible language:

* Style & brand — the visual/sensorial personification of a company’s value prop to customers; is it relevant, memorable, positive reinforcement, communicative, etc.

* Functionality & performance — the features and technical capability of the product or service; do they work well and for the intended audience/situation.

* Usability & utility — is it intuitive, usable, friendly, with all necessary affordances, etc.

* Story & content — is there relevant and useful “stuff” to interact with, does it fit with user’s lifestyle/workstyle, overall flow and process, etc.

Each pairing relates to a major corporate function (marketing, IT/engineering, business development, customer service), thereby directly instructing non-designers how they can and must impact the total experiential value, per their specific skills/abilities. Also, these elements individually imply certain vectors of success that can be defined, targeted, and measured in various qualitative and quantitative ways. Then these vectors become systematic, objective items that are benchmarks for success, meters for growth and evolution, and define the parameters of a strategic conversation in terms of overall product/service innovation and cultural change.

As designers we have to figure out how to insert ourselves into the higher echelons of corporate function/strategy. TQX could be a positive path forward.


Uday Gajendar is a prolific UI designer with almost a decade of experience. His work has spanned enterprise software, creative tools, Web and mobile apps, and VOIP devices at Oracle, Adobe, Cisco, and other Silicon Valley firms like Netflix. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon’s IxD Program, Gajendar advances the design field with presentations about beauty, leadership, and strategy, at venues like IDSA World Design Congress 2007, IA Summit 2004 and 2005, and Silicon Valley Codecamp 2007-08. He has also taught interaction design at San Jose State University, Fall 2007-08. For further musings on design, visit his blog at