UX is everywhere — my talk from Ladies that UX lightning talks 2017

User experience thinking can change how you live your whole life. A look at UX in the real world.

In traditional presentation style, I’m going to start with a definition:

User experience is the overall experience of a person using a product such as a website or computer application, especially in terms of how easy or pleasing it is to use.

And this is probably what most user experience designers see and do on a day to day basis. We focus on the flow of a product, how clear and easy it is to use and that product is mainly a piece of technology.

I disagree with this definition. For me, user experience is a responsibility, a way of life. Our job is not only to make the product good, but also assist the services behind it, the support, the upgrading, even the deletion of accounts. And what about services not products?

Generally these roles are called other things, for example you could be a customer experience designer, service designer or even an industrial engineer.

There’s one thing they have in common – to be good at these roles, you MUST think about your user.

So I’ve got some examples here:

Let’s think about the Self Service points in supermarkets. These designs are far from perfect, we all have issues – but the amount of UX decisions that went into the design of this interface and how it functions are astounding.

The simple fact that there are 2 scanners shows how much research went into where bar-codes are located on products and therefore which angles would be best for a scanner. And the grouping of the products when you need to add fruit and veg – anyone noticed that garlic and onions often have their own section rather than being with the other veg?

Or what about the layout of your house and the things in it? Who chooses the location of plugs in your house or where the oven is in the kitchen – changes to these things can improve your everyday experience of even where you live.

All these things are covered by a variety or product/service roles but the base of the thinking is based on user’s and their experience.

So what if we took this one step further? Couldn’t we be the UXers of our lives?

When we do user research, we think about how we word things and how to make people feel comfortable. A skill that can be applied across the board to make sure your influence on people is a positive one.

And when we do wire-frames we think about the logistics of how people are going to get from one place to another and all the things that could make that journey difficult or easier. We could use this to set our own goals for life or help others achieve theirs. We can plan the steps and work what might go wrong and account for them.

The essence of user experience is such a human thing and by using human empathy and proactive kindness in your own lives, you can make your impact on the people around you a wonderful thing. Their experience is influenced by you and your behaviour, so why not make it the best it can be?

Be thoughtful, considerate and empathic. Think and plan ahead so that things are easier and simpler. And use those UX rules you’re so passionate about in your careers to improve your life and the life of those around you.

Thank you for listening.