UX Design: Building in Delight
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UX Design: Building in Delight
How to make sure that you are adding real, unexpected value; not fluff
Delight is unexpected value in the form of simplicity, convenience, and/or satisfaction. In order to add delight, you must make sure your core offering(s)/functionality is fully developed and serves your users’ needs well first.
Delight is the desert of the user experience, and everyone wants a piece whether they admit it or not.
If you’ve been in UI/UX for any length of time, you’ve heard the term “delight” thrown around ad-nauseam.
What does it mean? What creates delight for our users?
Let’s talk about it now.
Product as coffee
Let’s start with an analogy: your successful product should be like a good cup of coffee (credit goes to my wife
Here, we have the actual coffee, cream, sugar, and some room to breathe between the top of the liquid and the lip of the cup so that the user can blow on and sip the coffee, aerate it, effectively taste it, and not burn themselves in the process.
Stay with me now.
Let’s slap on some whipped cream and tasteful sprinkles to add some unexpected value to our product.
And look at that!
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The user got cream and sugar in their coffee already, so it’s a safe bet that whipped cream on top probably isn’t going to offend them (but if it does, we’ll take it out after user testing the approach, that’s the point).
What we just witnessed here is the exact same process that a team can go through to add unexpected value to their product in the form of delight.
This value comes in several flavors:
Let’s talk about each real quick:
How straightforward and easy a process is to understand.
How effortless an action or set of actions is to perform to get the desired result.
How emotionally fulfilling completing the action or set of actions is.
The more you can mix, match, and create harmony between these flavors of delight, the more overall delight your users will generally feel when using your product.
You take your car to a dealership for maintenance, nothing fancy. When you come to get it though, they pull it around for you; it’s been fully detailed inside and out, the tires have been filled up, and it has a full tank of gas.
Now that’s delight right there! Not only have they cleaned your car for you from top to bottom which makes you feel very satisfied with the results of your actions (taking your car in to be maintained), but they also added convenience & simplicity to your experience by filling up your tires, gassing it up, and pulling it around for you.
That’s real delight!
You didn’t expect it, they never said they would do it for you, but there it is: your beautiful, showroom clean car with a full tank of gas. You feel fulfilled, confident, and infinitely validated in your decision to take your car there.
I can almost guarantee that, regardless of price, you will always judge any other provider’s service to the level of experience you just had for the rest of your life, and if you have the money you will always come back to this dealership for all your maintenance needs, period.
Remember, its not the cheapest product that wins, its not even the product that has the highest “utility,” it’s the product or service that makes people feel the most valued and cared for that ultimately wins.
“Delight” without substance
Let’s take another example where “delight” has been “added” without actually having anything to go on top of.
Imagine getting that cup of coffee and expecting it to be delightful (because it has the markers of being delightful, IE: whipped cream on top), only to be met with whipped cream, air, and disappointment.
In short: your users are gonna be pissed.Make sure your MVP really is an MVP and not just whipped cream on top of air.
You cannot, let me repeat CANNOT expect users to fall in love with a product that does not have well-defined, well-crafted, and well-implemented core functionality.
It’s basically like handing your users a cup of air or another liquid that isn’t the coffee they wanted.
Your users are going to be absolutely pissed and rightfully so, because to them you lied.
Not because you were necessarily trying to, but because they expected one thing from your offering and got another.
So what does this mean for you?
When creating a product, focus on core functionality first.
Make sure that it is ratcheted down and that your MVP does what it says it’s going to do, does it well, and THEN you can start adding your extras.
That’s when you can build in delight in the form of unexpected
And that’s what will help you create and maintain a competitive advantage among a sea of competition, while connecting with your core audience, and delivering a really high-quality user experience.
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