After a completing a couple of research studies for business applications that incorporated a digital assistant, I’ve come to realize that the user base is quite different from the consumers that personal digital assistants like Alexa, Siri, etc. are marketed to. Consumers appreciate the user delight that these devices try to incorporate into their lives as well as their utility. However, when I interviewed people about incorporating using them in their business applications I got a completely different response—even though these same people use and enjoy digital assistants personally.
It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when you’re wading through user research. The pain points, user personas, survey data, etc… can be shouting so loudly that you forget the point of it all. So I invented the “In A Perfect World” statement to bring it all home in my user research presentations.
When UPS let me down last year in delivering my Christmas presents to my family in Texas in 2013, I attributed it to the Amazon avalanche and let it go. But they’ve done it again this year with my package to the same sister!
On a recent trip, I was waiting for the hotel shuttle outside and a man pulled up in a red convertible Lamborghini. The only reason I know its was a Lamborghini is because I read it in large letters splayed across the back quarter panel. I hadn’t even noticed it until a toddler standing with his family nearby pointed and started saying “Wow!” repeatedly. He said it with a breathy, reverend tone. He was clearly delighted.
What a difference a day makes! Yesterday during Apple’s announcement of the Apple Watch, they went on and on about how the screen wasn’t obstructed by our fat fingers because they invented the “digital crown”—a phrase so pretentious I can only use it with an eye roll.
Any UXer knows that part of the job in user experience is to delight the end-user.
Step 1. Create a usable interface and flow.
Step 2. Delight the user.
It sounds pretty simple on paper but it’s fraught with pitfalls over the course of a project. The biggest problem I see time and time again is that the project team forgets who they’re supposed to delight. They delight themselves with sparkly gimmicks that add no real value and then pat themselves on the back when they succeed (in delighting themselves). By the time the end-user weighs in, the team is dispersed into new projects and all too often insulated from criticism.