The difference between UX and HX


Actual Experience

Photo by Marl Clevenger on Unsplash

“The pandemic has forced businesses to accelerate their digital transformation.”

In the financial services sector, it’s a phrase that’s almost become redundant to say – and certainly has many of us rolling our eyes. We’ve been living with this ‘accelerated digitisation’ for longer than a year now – in many cases, much, much longer.

So the prospect of digital transformation in financial services isn’t new. But its successes are open for debate, and failures rates are high, with research by McKinsey showing fewer than 30% of projects achieve their goals.

In an attempt to measure the success of integrating digital platforms into our business operations – whether apps, websites, portals or interfaces – we have a variety of KPIs to analyse them, one of which is User Experience (UX). And working in a digitally savvy financial services business, it’s likely you’re very familiar with the term.

But there’s an often-neglected evolution of UX we should all be paying closer attention to, especially considering our new ways of working: Human Experience (HX).

What is Human Experience?

User Experience, often shortened to UX, has been part of marketing vernacular for years. We use the term to refer to how a person interacts with a product, system or service, most often in the digital sphere. Human experience is one of the different branches of UX.

Human Experience describes the impact our interactions with a company, product or service have on us as people; how we’re left feeling or what we’re left wanting as a result.

It’s less related to the usability of a service, and more related to the purpose behind that usability.

For example, an investment analyst might use a spreadsheet application to support many of their daily tasks. On first glance, the application’s UX might be great – a simple interface, able to perform the calculations they need, and share them with colleagues in just a click.

But perhaps this application needs to be manually updated every two weeks, causing frustration and losing valuable work time. Maybe it lags whenever their email application is open. Or perhaps it’s not compatible with certain operating systems, making remote working more difficult.

All these things are examples of negative human experience.

While the application itself functions optimally, if the analyst’s main goal is to save time, use their spreadsheet in tandem with their email application, and be able to access the application no matter what device they’re using, their experience of interacting with the service is poor.


In short, UX is the front end. It’s how your digital platforms are designed visually, what interaction with them looks like, and a measure of whether people can find what they’re looking for and use the interface intuitively. HX is focused on the delivery of the experience and the ‘conversational’ element of the interaction.

Why is HX not UX so important in financial services today?

People are at the centre of everything your business does. And enhancing customer experience across our digital and offline platforms is a key focus for many. After all, better customer experience both improves retention and captures new opportunities. But far fewer businesses have invested to the same extent in their employee experience and the digital tools they use every day.

As remote working and hybrid working become the norm, an understanding of the human experience of employees is invaluable. And the ability to measure, quantify and report on your employees’ interactions with your digital platforms gives your organisation the opportunity to gain a truly competitive advantage.

But why not just stick to the KPIs we already have?

What many businesses often forget is, while the attributes which make up user experience are objective, UX itself is subjective. What one person finds easy doesn’t necessarily apply to the next individual.

Human Experience, although individual, can be measured and analysed objectively.

From pinpointing how many productive hours you lose per week, to calculating how much that lost time is costing you, to identifying where time is wasted most. By getting to grips with HX, we can better understand the individuals who make up our business, what they’re struggling to achieve and where we need to offer more support.

Empirical analysis and measurement of human experience also has a fundamental impact (for the better) at an organisational level within a financial services business. With these actionable insights, in a remote or hybrid working environment, you can improve employee wellbeing, increase the diversity and equality of your operations, and enhance the overall employee experience of your business.

Covering everything from the percentage of employees experiencing frustration, through to the potential revenue opportunity created by improved efficiency, the metrics have a direct correlation with the top-line performance of your business.

And in the hyper-competitive world of financial services, the ability to see where performance can improve, and what must be done to make those improvements, can be a decisive factor in your long-term success.

Start measuring human experience today

If you’d like to learn exactly how your digital systems are impacting the human experience of your employees, and how you can affect positive change, Actual Experience can help. You’ll find more about our business analytics tools and their benefits here.