Not Creating User Experiences


an empty Perth hay st mall on a late night shopping night, with no one around - the perfect experience

It’s a little frustrating and amusing at the same time.  Of late I have been reading and talking with a fair few designers who are sprouting on about building and creating user experiences.

Er, No.   You have it wrong.

Let’s consider this for a moment, (yes I’m being picky).

Yes that’s right they said they are building, creating the user experience for the web site concerned.

They are so sure of their design abilities that they can state that when the audience arrives at the said site they will have the exact experience they had planned and designed.

There will be a perfect emotional response and audience will automatically click on the desired call to action.

Again, no.

I have yet to meet or encounter the work of anyone that has come close to this.  This creating of a user experience is just a myth.

Yes a degree of emotion manipulation and control can be exercised, with the right use of content and graphics, there is even a formula for this common form of  persuasive design used all too often by  funnelling gateway pages.

But the designer doesn’t make the user experience, the user and the environment (which maybe the site) does.  They allow the design to influence them, they allow the content to suck them into the story or dream it sells.

As designers all we can ever do is just create an environment to allow for the user experience. An environment that we would like the audience to encounter and have the right experience with and for that experience to grow, flourish and mature.

The designer is just creating FOR a user experience.  Yes it’s a minor, but important difference.

Also remember that all the user testing in the world is just a tool to confirm that you have the right general direction for the experience, it’s still not going to really inform you 100% that you have generated the right environment to foster the wanted experience.

So remember we are not playing at God, we are not controlling the audience.   We are just setting up to environment in which maybe the spark of the expected experience springs to life. Designing is not building an experience, that’s something the audience does with the world.

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