In this article, I’ll try to help you to gather neural pathways connecting with professional and personal experience in a single consistency. The essence of which is feedback from the world around. The article is about UX ordinary life, but also there will be many similarities with interface design. The article may seem a little superficial, but I noticed that we had lost a track of what UX actually means, and decided to fix this.
In a modern world, the right answer forms the quality of life. The first date, an interview, a communication with street hooligans, exams, a call to a doctor /a lawyer / a police officer, in all these cases, the right answer allows you to get what you want, because a lot of things are scripted at the level of professions, traditions, and regulations.
All things, interfaces and living beings give us the feedback, which forms our perception and the level of the comfort:
- You have opened a battle with a light movement — it was a good interface.
- You swiped a screen and a phone was unlocked — it was a good interface.
- A cat cuddles up in response to a petting — it is a good interface.
- Even a court is also an interface, an interface of a state. If sentences handed down by the court correspond to both the low and the seriousness of the offence — it is a good interface.
Designers have an intimate knowledge, that every interface is a response to the user’s request, there is even a whole direction — the interaction design for visualization an interface’s feedback. Beautiful words from Behance — intuitive, natural, zero UI, it is all about the emotional description of an interface. Such an interface gives immediately a right feedback based not only on user’s request, but also on considerations of emotional mood of the service. Uber is a strict black style, but Didi Chuxing is a very bright and smiling.
A nature of a correct feedback
Many courses teach that UX is simply a common sense. But people who studied at the faculty of philosophy or psychology know full well, that humanities textbooks full of obvious things, which is important to learn by heart. In terms of common sense ideas of philosophers seems apparent, but as a good minimalistic interface, the evidence of the decision is the result of great efforts.
If a student doesn’t remember the knowledge, the common sense will not help him with a test in which all options correspond to common sense. So many tests with response options simply are learned by heart, the fact that a person has a common sense doesn’t guarantee the correctness of conclusions. A boundary between the knowledge and the understanding is very clear.
The answer to the question «Why? » doesn’t require learning by heart but understanding. For the right answer to a mathematical problem a right qualification is required, there is only one correct answer, and several ways to get it. Search engines can easily answer the question: “which company is located at 1100 W Artesia Blvd, Compton, CA 90220”. But to answer the question: “why do monkeys get less pleasure from fluffy toys than cats?” search engine will not be able to respond. To answer a such question Cunningham’s Law will be good. If you want an answer, which is correct in terms of facts, you’d better ask it not in search engines, but write a priori a false conclusion in a professional community. Then everyone will get a script «Someone’s Wrong On the Internet! », and the discussion will bring out the truth.
Nor can we fail to mention the ethics. A 50% of family therapists’ work is to teach couples to give a right feedback — simply to say sorry to a partner. If all people learned to apologies, then many relationships between people would be saved. Even one word can change everything. A teacher, who say to a student: «well done! », statistically has a higher achievement in a class.
The knowledge creation skill is useful, but not everywhere it is need to generate this new knowledge. In the Army, a habit to give only a right answer is formed by convincing soldiers in correctness of dogmatic ideas. In a perfect case, a soldier should not react to the reality, as in one of the series of «Black Mirror», a very one-sided ethic turns out.
A logic and a life experience allow adult to anticipate plausible futures and to form a knowledge which a person hadn’t have before. It is some sort of understanding, a conventional wisdom. Every adult has huge stores of knowledge and operate with these. But if a person has an understanding, he can generate answers to the questions he never confronted in his life. I think Google and other systems of the artificial intelligence are moving in this direction, from learned answers to the generating of answers. And it is this characteristic that really distinguishes a good specialist from the ordinary one.
From the examples above it becomes clear that an answer/ a feedback is your opinion, caused by the question. A good answer is a response to the aspirations and a satisfaction of the root cause. And that is exactly UX.
No matter what kind of interfaces it is — people, HUD, a state. If the interface consistent with the experience of a person, it is considered good, intuitive, there is no surprise. If this is not the case, the interface has to teach lessons and hints, giving answers to the user’s questions. And if after that a UI doesn’t become clear then this is a professional interface. It’s easy to avoid: think primarily about user’s main task. While creating systems for dentists it will be bad idea to show a lot of graphs and tables, a doctor is interesting only in work with a 3D model of teeth.
Which interface is better for a business, a bot or a person?
Chat bots on sites, which offer to begin a chat, drive me crazy. I write a question and in a respond they suggest me to enter a phone number and sometime a person will call me back. Who normally even haven’t read my question. And not an expert will call me back, but a sales manager. Any such conversation begins with memorized phrases, a bot can respond from the beginning of the conversation, but later a person should connect. Or at least it can be a very clever neural pathway.
But the reverse situation is also possible. At my first job I wanted to take a vocation in order to attend courses. I went to the management with the leave request and I was asked where I was going to lounge on a beach. I freely told, that I would go to courses. As a feedback I’ve got a negative answer: a manager decided that if I was looking for a new knowledge it could cripple to the company, because my ambitions would grow and the gear in his business process would fly out of the system. Anyway, I’ve got a vocation for courses, by giving a right answer: “truly I’ll be sucking up some sun». In this case the interface of the person was less effective for me, than an interface of a formal alignment and electronic document management.
Both a bot and a human do not handle well with the answer. Therefore, let’s talk about…
UX-researchers with first-hand experience know, how it is important to have a right question to ask. There are Closed-ended and Open-Ended questions. Here are examples of Closed-ended questions:
- «Did the upgrade of your resume help you to find a job? »
- «Can you speak English?»
- «Have you ever been attended the survival training course in a cold condition? »
The answer can be Yes or No, it allows you to continue a conversation more purposefully.
If you ask a person about his attitude to pussycats directly, it will motivate him to give a socially correct answer. It’s a reflex. A reflex for a question «Will you marry me? » in most cases is not work out and the solution will not be at a reflexes level, but at the level of an internal motivation. This is the management of emotions and relationships.
Remember about a non-verbal constituent of communication. During the interview for a job with high stress levels a most uncomfortable conditions for an applicant are created. Such job interviews in most cases check out not answers by words, but a behavior, reaction to the situation in which reflexes will take over a common sense. A body language, a voice tone will show an attentive person, that a conversation is boring and merely formal. All answers of such a respondent have no value.
If an interlocutor wants to confuse you or run out the clock, he will answer a question with a question. Backgrounds of such approach goes to professional liars, who are good at a social engineering.
If you are attacked by someone who is stronger then you, which feedback will be correct -fight or flight? If no-one sees, then it is quite reasonable just run away. But if you are with your girlfriend a right feedback to her expectations is to pick this fight, even if this decision is driven by an extrinsic motivator. And if you need to protect your family, then your decision will be dictated by the inner motivation, a reflex.
Give me the right feedback
But what will happen if you will give not a right answer? Everyone will think, that you are an asshole. In many countries, people are taught to be nice and flexible from the childhood, that means to comply with expectations of other people and try to please them. But it is called «a victim’s syndrome». To be guided by others opinion is dangerous. People who always try to adjust a situation: like popular posts, chant popular mottos, work only at directions in trend, design trend interfaces — they are easily manipulated by opinion leaders. Hitler, at the time, was also an opinion leader and masterfully manipulated such people.
Can a feedback always be a right for everyone? No. Every services or a person should always have their own vision of the right answer. In the preceding article I wrote that it is more important to be a person with a proper moral fiber and not a strong personality, who takes over opinion of others. Your designer told you that «Apple would never do this kind of thing»? Dismiss him, you should go your own way in a design. Beware the trend that goes against your own instincts.
Whether you work with complex analytics or make a decision based on your own expertise, always use an empathy to understand what an emotional feedback the user will get from your interface, from an employee, from your business. This is precisely the task for UX. Product designers design not only an interface feedback, but answers of workers to clients in sale outlets, answers of a state to requests from citizens, answers of a state to a violation of the law by citizens. This is UX.