Like tech debt, UX debt accumulates over time and, if left unaddressed, leads to amplified user problems and costly cleanup efforts.
A brief history of the term
User experience debt is called a debt as it’s similar to real-life debt; we get something in the present, but only pay for it in the future. Until the debt is paid off, interest rates rise as a permanent cost.
The UX debt concept was built on a similar one, known as technical (or tech) debt. The term “technical debt” was coined by Ward Cunningham in 1992 who realized that cutting corners with technology and releasing software too quickly can result in additional costs (interest) after the launch.