5 Articles to Read Today to Be a Better UX Designer

Pleasure, Flow, and Meaning — The 3 approaches to designing for delight

We can measure a design on a scale from frustration to delight. The middle of this scale is a neutral point, where the design is neither frustrating nor delightful. It doesn’t suck, but it’s not remarkable, either. It’s just a neutral experience.

Improving the design from the neutral point to introduce delight is a different process. It’s additive, whereas getting to the neutral point is reductive. We have to know what to add to make the experience become delightful.

Jared Spool outlines three approaches for designing for delight with great examples.

About attention theft

Almost every time Cyd Harrell writes or speaks about civic technology, it includes an over-arching design value: respect for people’s time, dignity, and abilities.

“This is critically important for life-impacting services like those government provides, and that goes for education and medicine as well. But I’m ready to propose that we apply it more broadly, and think about how it fits into the developing practice of design ethics: as a first principle, respect your users’ capacities, including the right to direct their own attention.”

The article shares four key principles to help you respect your users’ attention.

Good friction for great UX

Onfido created a solution to prevent fraud and keep user accounts safe. The problem was that real users were making mistakes and giving up. How could they change the UX to help users succeed? Add more friction.

Friction is usually something UX designers work to remove in processes, so why add more?

Through user testing, they were surprised to find that users were willing to trade time for a better experience and transparency. They found out that better instructions and a more robust capture experience were a game changer for our experience. By adding friction, they could help users achieve their goals in a comforting and secure way.

It’s time for digital products to start empowering us

The digital world, as we’ve designed it, is draining us. The products and services we use are like needy friends: desperate and demanding.

Empowerment means becoming more confident, especially in controlling our own lives and asserting our rights. That is not technology’s current paradigm. Instead, digital products demand so much of us and intrude so deeply into our daily existence that they undermine our confidence and control.

Product designers are experts at delivering utility. They’ve perfected design processes that allow them to improve the way people accomplish tasks. Unfortunately, it’s becoming increasingly clear that utility alone isn’t enough.

Jesse Weaver outlines seven areas we need to rethink.

Designers, stop talking about empathy!

Michael Chanover has some feelings about empathy.

“It’s great that empathy is resonating with so many people. The problem is that in design, there’s more talk than action. The number of times I’ve heard the word ‘empathy’ in design reviews, strategy sessions, critiques, conferences, industry events, and beyond is wildly greater than the number of empathetic practices I see woven into most design.”

So how can designers walk the walk? The article includes eight ideas for how to design with empathy. If you use some or all of these, your products will be better, and your customers will be happier.

Inspired to be a better UX designer?

Here are a few of our best articles to consider as well.

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