Researcher. Designer. Thinker.

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Enchanting Users' Faces Off

Along my journey to becoming a better UI/UX designer, I was introduced to the (what I would soon discover to be) crazy world of mobile app design. Getting to know the design guidelines for the different platforms resulted in a sad realization that @@software teams oftentimes put too much emphasis on the features list and not enough on the delight that those features could bring users.@@

My Bloc.io program coursework included the topic of mobile app design—everything from how interaction design is generally different on mobile and tablet from desktop all the way to the differences in design style and patterns across platforms and devices. As I was reading the Android Design Principles to help guide my entry into the world of app design, I realized that I've spent a good bit of my UX design career designing for "usable functionality," not for "delight."

...software teams oftentimes put too much emphasis on the features list and not enough on the delight that those features could bring users.

Starting out as an information architect, I was focused on organizing things, accounting for labels and structure as the basis for creating a good user experience. "Users should be able to find things!" they said. "Users should be able to understand things!" they said. Information retrieval and processing were the things for which I tried to optimize. Graduating to interaction design, I expanded my UX repertoire to include not only smarter/more efficient ways to get to information but also more interactive experiences with creating and manipulating information. Designs were aimed at supporting task completion. Get those features in there and make them work!

Android's first design principle is "Enchant Me." Notice it's not "Help me get shit done." The latter is really implied and shouldn't be the only thing we shoot for when designing products. Yet, for so many software product teams, this has been our singular focus. I get it—software's hard. Figuring out user needs, designing the user experience, balancing business goals with designs and technical constraints, and then actually building what we'd set out to create. It's a fast-paced world, and (unfortunately) designers oftentimes feel so pressured to deliver something that they can miss opportunities to really explore ideas for creating delight. Microinteractions, copy, and novel features are all areas that get cut for potential innovation in lieu of (typically) arbitrary release dates. There never seems to be any time to think about delight.

...designers oftentimes feel so pressured to deliver something that they can miss opportunities to really explore ideas for creating delight.

It's about time product teams made time to create delight. @@With so much competition in the digital space these days, companies can't afford to just help people "get shit done." We should be enchanting users' faces off.@@