User Experience is more about people than technology.

It is about how you and I interact with small instances of technology products while we go about our lives. The way we use a personal computer to write a poem, the Internet to find a recipe for a cake or book tickets, our phone to reach the nearest pharmacy, our smartwatches or our bands to track our fitness are all governed by user experience.

I am a mentor at Acadgild and am responsible for their live classroom User Experience course. This means every weekend for ten weeks I am locked in room with a computer talking to students from Phoenix, AZ to Hyderabad, Telangana about all elements of user experience. This excerpt is from the introduction module.

But we should wake up to a few realities when we create technology products. These truths are:
We scan. We do not read. – While most of the pages on the web and apps on our devices assume that we read, we do not. There are often reasons for this: We usually have an intent, a goal that we need to accomplish. So, we keep moving. We know that we do not need everything. We know that only a part of it is useful for the intent or the goal that we have in our head. We can find it easily. While we like minimal screens like Google, we are good at identifying stuff that we need on a crowded page like IRCTC.

We make choices that are sufficient and not optimal – We are in a hurry, there is no penalty for guessing wrong and guessing is more fun. But this truth also depends on the user environment and the frame of mind. Our mind is works differently If you are helping an unwell bystander get to a hospital, from when you are checking hospitals in a location before you rent a house.

We do not need to know how things work. We need to know what it does. – Most of us do not read instruction manuals when we work with technology. Especially on your laptop or your phone.

Usage has a grammar. Like cinema or any language, technology and device usage have rapidly evolved to create a set grammar or conventions. These best practices have been derived by experts who have understood these truths and seen it change over time.

There are a few questions that you can ask when you think about any technology product or any feature of it:

  • Is this useful? Will I need it?
  • Is this intuitive? Can I learn while I use it the first time? Will I remember when I reuse it?
  • Can it get the job done within a certain time and effort? Will it be effective and efficient?
  • Will I want it? Is it desirable?
  • Will it be delightful? Will I enjoy using it? Will it be fun?

You can visit the new course that I have authored on UX and Graphic Design here. Watch this space for new batches and updates.