In 1943 psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed a hierarchy of human needs, which looked to define 5 key stages/levels for understanding human behaviour and motivation.

Since then this template, often depicted as a pyramid, has been replicated and used to help define human needs in a variety of different disciplines and industries.

The latest recreation of this famous framework is in the field of user experience. A few variations of the model exist, but the version to the right is a common depiction. In this UX Hierarchy of Needs there are 6 levels that the user must pass through in order to achieve a meaningful experience.

UX Hierarchy of Needs
  • Functional describes the user’s most basic UX need. Without a working product/website/app the experience is stopped dead.
  • Reliable is the next stage on from functional. Looking to answer whether the the product is available and accurate? And can it be trusted?
  • Next the product must be usable without difficulty.
  • Only then can the product become convenient where everything works just like the user wants (but maybe doesn’t expect).
  • Making the experience pleasurable is the first step towards making an
    emotional connection with the user. If the experience is pleasurable it will
    often be memorable and worth sharing.
  • Finally, the ultimate UX goal is to create a product that has a meaningful impact on the user’s life.