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2021-04-02 :: 6 min read
Alexandros Kostakis
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UX in Everyday Life

What makes UX so captivating for the creatives who love it, is that it encompasses more than just one area of creativity. The discipline draws on many areas of life: psychology, statistics, graphic design, computer science, content strategy and so much more. When done successfully, UX gifts people with a simple experience free from the stresses of everyday life. UX done well is the difference between someone simply using something and experiencing it.

As a User Experience designer, I have felt the need for UX designing in so many of our daily life products and services. From the time we wake up in the morning till we go to the bed, we come across numerous products like toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo bottles, cars, refrigerators, television sets, air conditioners, washing machines, microwave ovens, etc. Each product can be enhanced for the better such that it will help the user. We might not feel the need for changes in all the routine products as we have adjusted ourselves to using them.

User experience is the emotional experience that consumers receive through their website, products, services, apps, or any online communication in the course of their engagement with the company. Some people can consider UX designing to be restricted to websites and mobile applications, but I believe it also has a much broader scope. I strongly believe that in every and everything we use in our daily lives, better user experience design needs to be incorporated. The user experience for all should be improved to wipe out or at least minimize the pain points of the customers. In other words to make user’s life easier and faster.

In order to understand how user experience can mean the difference between customers loving your product or forgetting it in seconds, here are five ways that UX design really does matter in everyday life and can affect the whole prospect of view.

1. Users Don’t Notice Design — Unless It’s Flawed

buttons of an elevator, black button, silver-bronze layout

From handles that bang against walls to bathroom stall doors that leave a wide space between you and your neighbor, you probably didn’t give much thought to how doors were designed until you had to interact with a poorly designed one. 

In any case that you are working whether is a digital product or not, deliberately mapping out how each element of your product works and fits together is critical to providing an effortless user experience.

2. Nobody reads the Manuals

“When I look at something, I should be able to discover what operations I can do [...] When [discoverability] is not there, well, you don't know how to use something.” – Don Norman, Director of the Design Lab at University of California, San Diego

In UX terms, the Norman door is any button, menu, or another digital object that doesn't give the user a clear and accurate hint about how to use it. 

When people can’t figure out what a certain element in your product does—when the signals that a user gets from a certain part of your product don’t align with the actual functionality—you have a discoverability problem. Low discoverability means that your users aren’t able to figure out how to use the product or feature.

glass doors with signs on them "push"

This isn't just an aspect of bad digital design—bad discoverability plagues the analog objects we interact with every day. Design consultant Don Norman coined the term “Norman door” to refer to a door that doesn't signal with its design how someone should open it.

3. The Human Element Affects Product Performance

People don’t always change the way they do things to accommodate design flaws, so it’s important to design for user quirks. Toothpaste caps are a classic example: The loose, screw-on caps are notorious for getting lost and leading to crusty, wasted toothpaste.

white tap of aa toothpaste

Designers need to think about the way users interact with their product in the field and think of ways to provide the best experience based on how people act. Many manufacturers now create hinged toothpaste caps and other designs that stay attached to their tubes even when users forget to put the cap on.

4. Great Design can make the best products

In the early stages of designing a product, a designer needs to be a detective — researching what people need, how they behave, and how to solve their problems.

heinz tomato ketchup red bottle and ui/ux letters

You won’t always hit perfection on the first try, but those early stages of design and conceptualization often guide you towards a better final product. You need to have tools that let you stay agile and creative whether you redesign once, twice, or a hundred times before you get the concept right.

5. Good Design Facilitates Purchases

Products in our daily life can be seen in a completely different way when the appropriate UX is adjusted into them. As a result, users get less confused while they are using them and products are more appealing. This means that UX can also affect the purchases of a product since people tend to buy things that help them reduce time spent on them and use this time in another way more useful.

female holding an iphone 6 and a macbook pro

Good design simply makes people love using your product. And happy users are more likely to stick with your brand and make more purchases. For example, as more of users’ browsing time is done on mobile devices, it’s become increasingly important to have a responsive site that works well no matter what size screen it’s being viewed on.

UX design is not the practice of making digital products look nice, but the process of incrementally improving the ease of use and intuitiveness of digital products.

To sum up all the above, UX is almost everything. We are the users of our lives and everything we do and encounter creates our user experience. If we pay attention to the UX in all areas of our lives, we can definitely draw inspiration for improving the UX of the digital interfaces we’re building. As has become common knowledge, in large part thanks to Cliff Nass’s “The Man Who Lied to His Laptop”, people expect computers to sound and act like people. It follows that taking notes from real-life UX can only better equip us to create more conversational, engaging, and successful UIs.