If you’re a fan of Apple, no doubt you’ll have heard of the words ‘user experience’ or ‘UX’ for short, being bandied about when people talk about design. What does it actually mean? What’s it all about?
For starters, ‘user experience’ is nothing new. It’s been all around us since we started to develop ourselves as humans. As a UX designer, I often find it difficult to explain what my job is — to friends, family, co-workers or people in general. It’s not just about designing websites and apps and deciding on where a button should appear. If I start to define my work as a UX designer in these simple terms, I end up falling in a pit of understatements.
In the same way chefs don’t just put food on a plate, and being a pilot requires more than just pressing a button to make an airplane fly, UX is way more than what people make of it.
Everything around you is an experience
User experience starts with studying behaviours and understanding people’s motivations. It’s that feeling you get when you enter a church. Believe it or not, even churches were designed to make its visitors go through a very particular experience. The statues, the colours, the details, are all part of a very defined experience: in this case, to make you go through penance, to make you feel guilty.
User experience is the feeling you get when you enter a fancy restaurant — for instance, some waiters call each other by sounds, like the sound of a kiss (yep, I’ve been to a place like this). It happens so you don’t feel like it’s too noisy around you, which could make you feel uncomfortable.
All of those experiences, as many others, were designed user experiences that have the aim to attract, captivate and make someone feel a certain way. Every brand, every institution, every product has it. That’s why you may like Apple better than Microsoft. That’s why you may like Nespresso more than Illy. Maybe why you may favour Coca-Cola over Pepsi. It’s all because you make choices based on what makes you feel good and fulfilled as a human being. It’s about feelings, all about experiences. It’s one of the very emotional ways to get to someone through a brand or product.
UX and the Digital World
Like every other aspect of our daily life, the internet also receives this kind of thinking: new online experiences designed to help someone reach their goal in the best way possible.
Let’s have a look at this example: Have you ever tried to search for an image on Google? Easy, right? And have you ever tried to specify the size of the image you want in your search? Instant nightmare, I assume. Chances are you clicked on three dropdowns before you reached what you were looking for.
That’s what we call a frustrating experience. This is not a feeling that UX designers, want you to have. In similar frustrating experiences, it’s likely you’d just give up and use other alternative to help you reach your final goal. This is every product’s worst nightmare, as you might imagine.
In the end, it lacked emotion and empathy
for anyone who was navigating in it
When we designed Advicefront’s website, launched in February 2018, we got caught in the ‘only-make-it-pretty’ way of thinking. In the end, it lacked emotion and empathy for anyone who was navigating in it. So we thought ‘let’s make it talk to people’.
Just by using copy (in collaboration with our Marketing team) we created fresh moments in the flow that helped you to take a break and smile. Sometimes UX is just that.
Nowadays more and more products, startups, companies, and stakeholders are becoming more open to the fact that people don’t just want a pretty product that works. People are craving for connection. They want to get the pleasure of using your product and be welcomed and happy.
People just want to feel.