UX Talk: Psychology in Experience Design

Derry Birkett
Mar 18, 2016 · 1 min read

UX is focussed on user needs. And to discover user needs, we run through a “discovery” phase. But, what if people don’t know their needs? Or the needs discovered are distracted, irrelevant or not deep enough to really satisfy the designer.

A good experience designer wants to seek out deep motivations: Motivations that oftentimes the users themselves do not acknowledge. This is where experience design, for me, encroaches the territory of psychology.

My ultimate goal as an experience designer is to design experiences that enable the user to grow, to realise themselves: This requires that I know what the user desires, what their dreams are — what they want to become.

As psychologists know, desires are often buried in the subconscious, actively blocked by the conscious mind. So how can an experience designer uncover people’s deepest desires and make them a reality? Will experience designers need a degree in psychology?

Steve Jobs famously stated: “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them”.

Do good filmmakers “get out of the building” and ask their audience what they want to watch? Sure, there are industries that create products according to market research. But are these the really great products? Are films designed by committee the really great movies of all time?

I’ll research this and make another post.

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