To Thomas Baekdal there is a conflict between high usability and great user experiences. Usability is about the ability to use something, while user-experience is about feelings and making people happy.
Freeways are usable, since they take you from A to B in the most effortless way. But they are also utterly boring. A twisting mountain road on the other hand is exiting. But far from usable.
According to Baekdal, we end up with mediocrity if we try to balance usability and user-experience. It's like trying to turn a mountain road into a freeway.
Instead we should focus on creating synergy by "making it easy to be happy."
"The result is that you use usability to take away all the things that distracts you from happiness, and you use the elements of user-experience to empower what people can do."
- The Battle Between Usability and User-Experience
- June 27, 2006
See also: Emotional design (6)