The Human Experience
5 Ways to Create Revolutionary Experiences
User Experience (UX) is a purpose driven discipline. One that UX professionals, marketers, advertisers, designers, developers, writers, strategists and producers alike may use to craft experiences that improve our quality of life.
In this series of posts, I will present five ways to strategically rely on UX to design better products, services and systems, ultimately building these revolutionary experiences. But, before we begin, we must first adopt an understanding of UX as a purpose driven discipline (hence this prologue).
My favorite definition of the craft comes from Whitney Hess — a user experience coach, writer and speaker. She defines UX as the following:
Hess breaks down walls that previously confined UX to just wireframes and expands the definition to include improving the quality of human life as a whole.
So what is this customers’ — or users’ — perspective that Hess mentions?
As humans we play many different roles when interacting with technology and brands at large. We are customers, users, players, participants, and viewers. Yet, above all of those roles, we are human beings.
So, instead of asking about the customers perspective, let’s reframe the question to include the broader experience. What is the human perspective?
To understand the human perspective we have to zoom out far — to the context of humanity.
The context of the human experience
We are here on Earth, in this truly amazing world, floating in the middle of a seemingly endless universe. We are born into this beautiful ecosystem of rivers, oceans, plants, animals and people all flowing elegantly in a natural rhythm.
Birth is the beginning of our experience on Earth. This is our first natural experience, interacting with the world around us. Life experience is about feeling the earth in our hands. It’s about feeling the cool water hitting you as you run through the sprinklers on a hot summer day.
It’s about getting caught in a storm and pausing to feel the rain as it runs through your hands. It’s about the warmth, security and excitement you feel during your first kiss.
It’s about the gentle touch of the person you have chosen as your partner. The person that you will spend this “life experience” discovering with, feeling with, loving with, dying with.
Life experience is about the feeling you have, as time is fleeting, in the last precious moment with someone you love.
These are some of the moments that make up life experience.
So what do life experience and human perspective have to do with UX?
Although we like to think of the human experience as a series of intimate, meaningful, precious and natural moments, life is also made up of designed experiences that make us feel stressed, frustrated, scared and, at times, completely helpless.
Traffic is a moment many commuters experience daily.
When I was living in L.A., I remember thinking about how much of my life was being wasted while sitting in traffic. During my two hour, two mile commute, I would glance around and see looks of frustration, hopelessness, and loathing on the faces of drivers around me.
Do you remember the last time you had to go to the DMV? What did you think, feel, smell, hear, see?
Government systems and experiences such as the DMV offer some of the worst moments of the human experience. It is easy to forget that these systems are designed. It is someone’s job to think about the processes, environments, services and products that create government systems and highways.
These examples teach us that people are wasting their precious short-lived human experience dealing with frustrating man-made experiences.
If these experiences were designed for humans, then why are they so broken?
This is the prologue of the series ‘5 Ways to Create Revolutionary Experiences’.
Check back next week on Struck’s Greater Than collection for Part 1.