Personal criteria of thoughtful UX
Personally, I believe thoughtful user experience design entails firstly the understanding of not only the users’ need but also the context where such need presents. The solution also has to consider the emotional, social and environmental impacts of its installation because users’ values are not only about completing goals but also how he feels or looks to others when doing it. Lastly, thoughtful user experience designed product should enquire minimum effort and the solution should be simple, elegant and easy to understand.
With that in mind, here is my list of 3 examples for thoughtful UX design products/service.
1.Disney Magic Band (currently available at Disney Land in Orlando, USA)
images & reference article from https://www.wired.com/2015/03/disney-magicband/
A wristband equipped with a context-aware technology available to all visitor to Disney Land in Orlando, replacing their tickets, cash, ride passes….etc. Inside each is a RFID chip and a radio like those in a 2.4-GHz cordless phone. It connects you to a powerful system of sensors in the park. Once you connect with a touchpoint, a certain action is performed by the system.
I believe this is a good example of a total experience design, which is a journey and not a single product touch point.
Even before arriving at the park, the Magic band is shipped to park goers’ home with their names engraved, creating anticipation and excitement. At the park, it works magic by cueing actions from the park in accordance to park goer’s location and activities. It was well designed to the detail that if something goes wrong, signal reader glows blue—never red. Red lights are forbidden at Disney, as they imply something bad happened. Nothing bad can happen at Disney World.
(An illustration of the passes, cards, and maps that the system replaces)
Also, it is a thoughtful UX design because the product is Invisible, which is extremely important in its use context – a theme park. Disney Land believes your goals is to enjoy yourself and make good memories with your loved ones. As such, the Magic band is designed to work seamlessly without needing user’s attention so that they can enjoy something else. The network and interaction between Magic band and functional systems that run Disney land help to remove frictions to a certain experience, making it easier and more natural. You no longer need to rush for a ride or miss anything important as planning is done ahead. You also no longer need to bring cash or credit cards and be anxious over their safe keeping.
Lastly, a great aspect of this product is that it works not only for customers but also for different stakeholders, who are all users of the system. The concept allows fast transactions, less work to be done by Disney employees. The cast members also have more time and information to have more personable interaction with guests. Disney as a company also has better resource management with things planned in advance.
In fact, it’s called the paradox of choice: You make people happier not by giving them more options but by stripping away as many as you can. The redesigned Disney World experience constrains choices by dispersing them, beginning long before the trip is under way.
2. Konnekt (student project)
This toy set consists of multiple connectable pieces that can be placed together on glass walls or windows.
image from https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/job/konnekt
This concept demonstrates the understanding of children’s need for play and the hospital environment. This toy set creates the opportunity for play and interaction using the same element for room separation, which are glass doors, windows, and walls. I feel that it was a really nice and appropriate twist. It creates interest at the window and injects some interaction quality in a toy that is otherwise played by a kid alone. This comes from the understanding of nature of play and children’s mentality: it’s more fun to have a play buddy.
image from https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/job/konnekt
The form of the toy set allows unlimited ways of configuration, allowing children to be creative without any restrictions. The material seems to be light and soft, which is both for safe concern and functional concern: it has to be able to stick on the window without dropping off.
However, I feel like that abstract shapes and the colors of the pieces are not exactly appropriate for young children. I also feel that having some narratives in the toy with help children understand the play better.
3.Liftware (available in USA)
images from https://www.liftware.com/
A utensil with stabilizing technology to help people with hand tremors to have a better dining experience. Product comprises of 2 part: rechargeable handle and changeable head for different cutlery: soup spoon, spoon, and fork
- While seeing that eating without difficulty is a major functional need, this product also recognizes the emotional and social needs behind dining. By addressing hand tremors, this product alleviates anxiety and attention on consuming food, hence letting user enjoys the socializing aspect of dining – chatting with others.
- Secondary functional needs: mobility and maintenance. Rechargeable battery allows the product to be taken to and used in different settings where dining might happen. The dishwasher safe changeable head allows different tools for different functions and easy cleaning after use.
- Ergonomic: big handle for easy grabbing
- I believe any product that is designed for patients or users with special needs of any degree should not take away their dignity or make them look any different. While this product stands out in its form with a slightly bigger handle, it does not scream out its function or the user’ needs. The stabilizing works quietly and the product itself looks like any other personal utensil.
- Good choice of color for perception of hygiene, neutrality, and modesty