UX Sensitivity

There is a simple tip I give people about how to be good at UX.  Turn your sensitivity to annoyances all the way up to 11.

I asked a candidate to look at a table we eating at in a restaurant.  I asked him, “What do you see that could be improved?”  He said, “Nothing.”  Bad answer.  His dial was up to about 3, not 11.

There were tons of issues to be improved including (but not limited to)

  1. Napkins weren’t folded neatly
  2. Utensils were crooked
  3. Table actually rocked slightly if you leaned on it
  4. Salt was not full
  5. Scratches

To be great at UX you need to obsess about the details.  You need to see every tiny flaw and think “How would a world-class awesome version of this look?”  In a fancy expensive restaurant, you bet your ass they line up the fork and knife and fill the salt shaker.

When I look at a User Interface, I imagine myself as an extremely impatient, distracted and nit-picky user.  The worst case scenario.  Then all of the sudden, little annoyances that are really fine look like glaring screwups.  It doesn’t mean you need to fix every single thing before you ship, but you should strive for excellence.  I am proud if I can ship 70-80 of what I consider perfect.

Look around you right now.  If you had a staff of world-class people making everything perfect, where would they start, what would they do?  Could you do any of that?

What about your product or service?  If it was perfect, what would you change first?

Whatya think?