20.04.2015

You cannot not UX

Imagine two shops, in real life, both selling t-shirts.
Now, one shop has a beautiful branded logo. The shop windows tell you, in stylish typography, that this family-run shop sell shirts since 1892.
As you look at the shop window you find a well arranged collection of t-shirt, with information of the manufacturer, the price, etcetera, etcetera.

Imagine walking into that store. The temperature and lighting are cozy, there is some nice music playing in the background (but not too loud) and one of the shops employees gives you a friendly welcome; he is there if you need him.
The shirts in the store are arranged by brand, color and size. You can easily choose the shirts you would like to try, and signs will guide you to the fitting rooms where you can take a good look in the king-size mirrors, and decide if you want that shirt or not.
When you leave the shop, with or without a purchase, the friendly employee wishes you a nice day and he hopes to see you back soon.
Chances are that you will have a pleasant experience with this shop.

The other shop

This is a different story. The sign above the door says 't-shirts' and the shop windows have some handwritten 'SALE!' signs.
Through the windows you can take a good look at the clothing racks in the bright lit shop. Most of the t-shirts are still in the suppliers box.
As you enter the store you notice the employee, but doubt if he notices you.
The t-shirts are not arranged or organized, or you just cannot understand the system. The fitting rooms are not more than a curtain and a small mirror.
As you leave the shop, almost unnoticed, did you have an experience? Or did you not?

A thought game

Obviously the owner of the second store has another target audience than the first one. The pricing and quality of the t-shirts will be different, as does the service, but none of that is important for now.
I am sure that we can agree that you still have a certain experience with the last shop, be it a 'cheap' or 'poor' one.
Now try to strip everything from the last shop until there is no experience left. The only rule is that you will still be able to sell t-shirts.
You can't can you?

You cannot not communicate

From the moment you noticed the stores, they are communicating with you. There is no way to sell products without communicating with your, potential, customers.
This communication goes on while you enter the store, take a look around, leave it or come back later with questions or complaints.
In order to get the best experience, every part of it has to be at the same level. If, for instance, the employee of the first shop was switched with the one of the second, the experience would have been less.

Long ago, learning to become a psychiatric nurse, I wrote a thesis about interactions between admitted patients and I used Paul Watzlawick's book, Pragmatics of human communication.
The first principle (axiom) he explains in his book, is how it is impossible to not communicate.
Running a real-life shop, or running a website isn't that different.
I believe the first principle of UX can be described the same way: You cannot not UX.

It is impossible to sell your products or share your information without submitting your audience to a certain experience; online or offline.
So, take control, even design a minimalistic UX if it fits your audience, but if you don't, chances are your UX will make you lose customers.

Author:
Date:
20.04.2015
Categories:
UX, Communication, Principles
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