"A design thinking approach"
I know that the title of the blog is not one of the usual ones, but we will get to that later. Let's first establish what we will focus on in this blog, and that is to elevate the User Experience (UX) in your next revolutionary product with some unorthodox design thinking approach for your User Interface (UI). Well, I guess "unorthodox" was quite established when the title had both the words, "UX" and "Puppies" in it 😅. And by now you might be all wondering how do UX and Puppies relate, allow me to explain -
🐶 Why and how Puppies ?
We all love how the very friendly and loyal friends of us humans, play with us and it just is so much fun. One can say in very unusual words, "it's very intuitive" how playing with the puppies come naturally to us, humans. Not to mention it's somewhat similar to how a pet cat plays with us too. This is explained in much finer details in the paper "Pet Face: Mechanisms Underlying Human-Animal Relationships" by Marta Borgi and Francesca Cirulli, which if you are interested, can find here - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4782005/. And in brief, this paper is trying to explain that how a puppy having similar facial cues with a human baby 👶 makes humans develop a similar kind of affection with their pets that they have with their babies. Well I know, you didn't come here for a human and pet relationship analysis, so here is what I want to convey to you having said everything that I have said till now in this blog -
Just like how humans develop affection for puppies that have similar facial cues to their babies, it is natural for humans to develop likability for our products that can somehow provide an experience that is more organic in nature and similar to things that they see around them.
Well now you see where I am heading with this, it’s all about making users of our product fall in love with it just like how they love their pet puppies. And let’s exactly discuss how even this design thought process can be realised.
😎 Character Development
This continues with the thought process that we developed just now. A product can look awesome and have great functionality, but what brings that x-factor of likability is how the UI and the UX together takes shape of a character that the users can more relate to. Picture this, whenever you think of a doctor, the chances are that an image forms in your head instantly with a person wearing a white coat and a stethoscope hung around their neck. And so is the case when you think of Google, where you think of fun and colorful illustrations & doodles, which are very relatable, or if you take the example of Apple inc. , there are chances that you think of a sophisticated professional environment with itched glass walls and white aesthetics. This is similar to how a mascot becomes the symbol of a sports team. A major role here is being played by the branding associated with the products, and how they are positioned in the market. This helps a company or a product build relatability with the users and ultimately become the first thing that pops in their head when they are trying to accomplish a goal that can be made easy with the help of your product. So while developing your next product, try creating a character out of it, and keeping the UI design in sync with the character. This eventually adds up to a great UX and chances are the users will start seeing your product as a permanent solution to their problem. 🎉
🥊 Feedbacks & Micro-interactions
The third law of Newton states -
To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction
And how can we forget that while making the UX have a more organic feel when we almost constantly are in a touch with this law in real life. Even when we are not doing anything, our body is experiencing atmospheric pressure and the body is exerting an equal amount of force to cancel out the force your body is feeling from the atmospheric pressure. But how do we bring this to the UX of our products? The answer is by very cautiously designing the micro-interactions and the feedbacks that the user will receive while using your product. This really is the most fundamental way to making conversation with your user via your product. You can think of a product that has no feedbacks and micro-interactions, like talking to that, out-of-league girl or guy you might have ever tried texting and never got a reply back 😭. Well, it is a really bad feeling to experience... I remember that day when I was in my college, I finally got the courage to pick up my phone and...
Wait, wait, wait ... I guess I got a little carried away there 😅, but the point is we don't want the users of our product to feel the same right? RIGHT? So to make the conversation flow between the users and your product, sprinkle in the magic of micro-interactions and feedbacks, and viola, your product has a great UX. Much like how a puppy reacts to head scratches and belly rubs.
😇 Reliability Factor
Everything that we have discussed by now is all really great to elevate the UX of your product, but to see them in their full effect, the product needs to be reliable in nature too. Now reliability is a quite big term and that might encapsulate and include a significant amount of technical details of the backend, frontend, and systems architecture, but in this case, we are only focusing on the reliability of UX in terms of the UI. And the last cherry on the top is ... (drumrolls 🥁) ...
timing and placement!. The feedbacks and micro-interactions will render themselves useful only when they are timed correctly. What this means is, if we take the example of a hover interaction, the micro-interaction has to be designed in such a way that the effect is evident instantaneously. This thought process also carries forward to feedbacks as a feedback is only received when the receiver is aware of the context of the feedback. If we take an example of a hand-eye coordination task, the feedback should be provided via some method where the hand can receive it or in a place where the eye is pointing to. This design thinking approach builds up to the reliability of a product and hence elevates the UX.
While trying to communicate the value of your product, as important it is to highlight the functionalities, it is equally important to concentrate on the way the UI is presented to the user with the minimal possible steps to achieve an end goal and also it should look familiar to things user are used to seeing every day so there is less learning involved. While the functionality solves the problems of the users of your product, the UI of your product paves the path to how the solution makes sense. And eventually contributing to a great user experience. So next time you are designing your revolutionary product, take a walk, play with a puppy and then start designing. And always remember -
UX tells a story, a story written in the language of feedbacks and conversions...
~ Arunabh Arjun