It’s impossible to see the bottom of the ocean looking only from the surface, and understanding that people are exactly the same is an incredibly valuable learning to obtain as a UX designer.
In this article we’ll explore some of the things that lie beneath the surface, but have a genuine impact on the user experience.
When we design, build and oversee the creation of a product, a natural bias is created in us where we have unconsciously become skilled at using a particular tool; something that our users would not initially experience. This can create some issues, as it leads us to an expected level of competence amongst those who’ll use the product, purely because after all our time investment, we’ve garnered the skillset to navigate efficiently.
We need to stay cognizant of who we’re creating for at all times, and remember that every person’s skill set, and level of competence widely varies — When we focus on our user’s, we create usable experiences.
Just like our user’s skills, it’s impossible for us to gauge the level of education that our user’s have received without probing questionnaires or complete assumption — Of course assumption works in some case for general levels of intelligence, but it does not work in other cases such as learned material, exposure to knowledge and other things that occur in educational facilities.
When we assume a default level of education in our users, we alienate those who are not at this level, building distrust and disdain, whereas when we treat our user’s with respect and give them the ability to learn our products, guiding them non invasively and efficiently, we quickly create positive opinions!
Our personal beliefs spill into the world around us, and lead us to assume how things should be before we even see or use them. Designing for personal beliefs is something that isn’t a catch-all net, rather we have to focus on who our users are, a core demographic group.
If we can create an experience for the people who will actually gain use out of our products, then we allow our designs to become inherently efficient — meaning that our users’ biases will be fed, and they can enjoy an experience tailor made for them.
Appearances are not everything, but it would be a lie to say that users don’t value visual appeal — In fact, user’s actually initially trust visually appealing products!
Designing for perspective focuses on seeing through our user’s eyes, not how they view the world, rather how they view the small details. If we are able to create experiences that are visually optimised to dial into this unseen mental bias, then we become able to shift and change the user’s perspective at will.
The way we interact with people has a huge amount of influence on how we interact with products as well. Every product and every design has a certain ‘feel’ to it, evoking certain emotions and personalities, by no accident at all.
Carefully crafting a product that fits well into our target users social style’s means that we engage the user in what we do, for example if we’re creating an immersive theatre experience, we’ll want to create an engaging, extroverted feeling to the product. This has the benefit of letting the user build rapport that normally would only be possible with another person, an incredibly powerful tool if used correctly!
It takes more than just reading to become an inclusive designer, that’s only the first step — but it’s a step that many never take, unwittingly!
Hopefully with this article, you can bring these learnings into practice, and become a designer for your users.
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