We can design FOR user experience (but cannot design user experience)

This article got me thinking:

Why The User Experience Can Or Cannot Be Designed - The Usabilla Blog

I agree with Paul that we can design FOR the entire experience, but we cannot design the experience.  Experiencing something is a personal (although sometimes public!) phenomenon.  We can arm ourselves with knowledge about human performance, human perception, affect/emotion, usable design patterns, common conventions and differences in technologies (which seems in vogue right now with responsive design) in the hopes that our designs will result in an appropriate experience for some subset of the resultant audience.  This experience is meant to drive usage of our product or service. Unfortunately, there are always questions that are unanswered until the design is implemented and released, including:

  • What is the appropriate experience?  What is success?
  • Who will the audience be?  Will it match the audience intended by the design team?

My only gripe with the article?  Paul put "user research" as the last strategy in order to design for UX.  It has to be the first! (It's a small gripe ... great article, man!)