User Experience UX & Emotional Connections - The Visual Language of Strawberry Ice-Cream

Author by Damon Sanchez

In the previous blog post I talked extensively about User Interface Design and the core questions that need to be asked during the UI phase of a project. During the post I discussed how the strategy and goals of UI have many facets, but one of the major goals is to fulfill the primary and secondary user needs. The conclusion of the UI post was to express that the fulfillment of a user’s needs only sets the stage for a greater User Experience which gives the ability to have a conversation about your brand.

So what is User Experience Design if it is not just about making intuitive interfaces? To answer that we need a very brief history lesson in the field of UX. ( its brief trust me…)

In the 1990’s a cognitive psychologist named Donald Norman combined the study of user interactions with emotional responses and how these principles related to people and how they retained information, it was here that the coined term User Experience became a practice.

“The human perceptual and attentional systems are tuned to notice discrepancies and problems, not that which is expected. So we tend to notice things that distract, that impair our ability to get something done”
– Donald Norman

At first glance what Donald Norman is essentially saying is that we have a higher probability to react negatively if we cannot figure something out or it’s visually distracting.

Studies show in perceived usability that just being able to intuitively figure something out only gives a higher chance of not effecting a user negatively. In fact even in the case of fulfilling a primary and secondary user’s needs the same studies show this only creates a connection rooted in necessity which also doesn’t create a long and lasting Emotional Connection.

This brings us closer to understanding User Experience Design and also to a very interesting component of human experiences.

The brain's memory creation is fairly complex in forming long term memories in that our brain almost needs a trifecta of various elements to create a positive and lasting memory.

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Knowing this, the facets of User Experience Design now start to take on shape and purpose in that a main goal of UX is to bring about an emotional connection during the process of fulfilling a user’s needs and in doing so brings about longer and more positive memories.

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So how do we structure questions that would yield awesome UX?

Imagine the design language and emotional bonds that could be created by asking granular questions like what flavor of ice-ream is liked or what kind of music is listened to prior to anyone using your interface...

Like the core UI questions we can distill a set of UX questions that walk the line of micro and macro, because at the core of a User Experience Survey should be: Who are the users?

Workshop questions structured to capture UX for a new interface:

  • What is the average age of the people you think would use this online application?
  • Will you be using a mobile device to access this application?
  • What type of online applications do you use?
  • What online applications do you like?
  • Does this online application have a direct competitor? If so, who is it?
  • What brands do you admire?
  • If the interface did one thing that would make you happy, what would it do?
  • What would make you recommend this online application?

Workshop questions structured to capture UX out in the wild already:

  • What is the average age of the people you think use this online application?
  • Do you access this online application with a mobile device? If so, does it work?
  • Do you use other online applications?
  • Does this application work better or worse than other online applications you have used?
  • Do you like this application?
  • What brands do you admire?
  • What is something you wish this application did better?
  • What is something this application does that makes you happy?

Download the Core UX Questions Here

Notice with the questions asked and with some cross referencing in metrics or analytics you would yield a fairly high amount of UX demographic data. Obviously like all surveys there are tons of questions that could be asked but on the whole if you’ve asked these core questions you have the basis to start understanding who the users are and what visual language could be used to capture their attention.

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This is really the secret to a lot of the successful online applications and products in that when you use these successful products you become a brand ambassador, you become an evangelist because the company has made a connection with you on a personal and emotional level through user fullfillment and visual language.

In my next Blog post I’m going to talk about User Journey Workshops and how to use the UI and UX core questions we have covered in the past blog posts to expand on this process.