Universal Design and User Experience
The Best Possible User Experience – Design for It
How do you “feel” when you react with something. This is hard to quantify, but we all know when we are pleased and when we feel frustrated.
Take, for example, an Automated Call Distribution system (ACD). In some systems, the process is long and arduous. You can be routed into a pathway that is not where you wanted to go (frustration). Suppose your error, and it may be your error, results in you having to call back and start all over. In that case, this creates a very negative “feeling,” and this negative feeling is bad for all parties.
When people “touch” your business or organization, do they have a positive experience or one that may be frustrating? How we feel about something is important. When we interact with an organization, we are doing so to gain value from it.
We want to:
- Buy a product.
- Solve a problem.
- Make an appointment.
- Learn something.
This interaction’s usability needs to be carefully thought out, tested for the experience, and refined to produce a favorable user experience.
From an emotional perspective, when our interaction behaviors are fluid, expected, and familiar, we derive joy and satisfaction from this usability, which is a positive user experience.
Powerful and positive behavioral reactions have the following benefits:
- They allow users to feel a sense of empowerment.
- They cultivate trust and reliability by creating a direct correlation between a user’s actions and expected value.
- They encourage repeat reactions, as people are more inclined to want to experience that delight again.
Moreover, a well-designed user experience leads to other high-value reactions by the user. Powerful and positive reflective responses have the following benefits.
- They encourage users to share their experiences with others.
- They evoke a sense of pride and identity from using a product that extends beyond the product itself.
These are excellent benefits for the organizations that have spent the extra time and effort creating a positive user experience. It isn’t easy to value this, so one might say that it is invaluable.
Here are some ideas for creating positive emotions when considering the user experience when your business, organization, or product interacts with your user.
To cultivate positivity, consider:
Personalization and Customization — Personalize the user experience to help users feel connected and gain a sense of ownership. If you can go even further and allow users to tailor the experience as an extension and manifestation of themselves, then this is even better.
Expressive Imagery — Use images, illustrations, and animations that your users can relate to — the visuals themselves, can involve emotion and help your users empathize.
Positive Surprise — Evoke positive emotional reactions by surprising your users and cause a feeling of delight.
Relatable Voice— Use a tone and voice that speaks with your users in a more human way. Express emotion, empathy, and encouragement through the conversational user interface.
Humor — Laughter creates a powerful positive emotion. Humor can ease fear and uncertainty while evoking a sense of joy.
Storytelling — Helps people understand the journey of the experience. A story helps people to frame their interactions. Moreover, stories are easy for us to remember. We want people to recall their positive experiences.
Microinteractions — Subtle affordances and indicators make interfaces feel more human and fun, which encourages interaction.
I want to say a bit more about microinteractions as some people who specialize in improving the user experience refer to microinteractions as the designer’s “superpower”.
We can overlook these opportunities to build in small, simple ways to delight your user.
Here are some examples:
- A simple scroll bar that appears as you scroll the mouse.
- Swiping left to clear a notification on your iPhone home screen.
- Ability to see that the other person is ‘typing’ on messaging apps (I really like this).
- A progress bar indicating the download percentage.
Universal Design and User Experience – Summary
In summary, we want anyone who encounters our business, product, or service – at any time – to have a positive experience. We want them to have a strong positive initial impression; we want the interaction to have high functional performance and usability. We also want people who may reflect on the experience to have positive memories to share their positive reflections with others.