What is UX Debt?

The term “UX debt” comes to us from the term “Technical Debt” coined by Ward Cunningham. Technical debt (sometimes called code debt) is “a concept in programming that reflects the extra development work that arises when code that is easy to implement in the short run is used instead of applying the best overall solution” according to Ward. Basically, the costs of cleaning up less-than-ideal code. It is “debt” because you need “pay it off” – go back and rewrite the less-than-ideal code. If you don’t then there can be less-than-ideal consequences that can affect your customers’ experience – sending them to your competition.

Joshua Kerievsky is credited with extended the technical debt metaphor to user experience design using the term “User Experience (UX) Debt.” Kerievsky explained that, like technical debt, UX debt will eventually come due, usually in the form of less customer satisfaction and possible customer defects.

Not that you know what UX debt is, how do you fix it?