Habituation

I completed my first week in my formal education in UX Design. This and weekly posts will reflect my learning. I’ll highlight 1–2 key point(s) that stuck with me. I hope sharing my reflection will help others learn or remind them of what they knew but haven’t thought about in awhile.

I recently watched Tony Fadell’s TED talk video for class where he started off with habituation (the idea where we get used to something that we no longer notice it even if its annoying).

Habituation prevents us from modifying our process, letting things go because ‘that is the way we have always done it’. Having being trained in Lean/Six Sigma, I always disagreed with the notion that if it wasn’t broke then don’t fix it. But I think people fail to see that improvement comes from evaluating even the most perfect process over and over again. Habituation seems to be the root cause of that lack of evaluation or that lack of needing to improve something.

Tony’s TED talk video title states “The first secret of design is … noticing” and to his point, we can’t notice if we don’t break habituation. There are plenty of things that could have a better design; we don’t have to just live with it because we adapted to it. I realize its difficult to spot out your own habituation. Where we can, we should bring someone new and diverse from ourselves to question the design and experience since they are not used to it. Outside of someone new, as Tony pointed out, we need to think ‘young’ so we can eliminate our bias.

I challenge myself and everyone else to take the mundane task and truly step back and ask yourself, can it be done a different way?