Thinking is for maths. Feeling is for UX.Christmas crackers are arguably the most fun – and disappointing – yuletide tradition ever. First, there’s always confusion about whose cracker it was, and second, the contents rarely give you what you want or need. (Yes, you, paper hat!)
But humans remain enthralled by the idea of something pretty going “PAH” and giving you a miniature deck of cards or impossible puzzles – so much so that consumers buy these horrible decorations every year, knowing full well what (and how little) they do, apart from polluting the earth.
Why? The user experience (UX). Not only do Christmas crackers look pretty, make a fun sound, and release silly gifts, but they also create a festive feeling. Usefulness is not a true priority; it’s the anticipation and experience that create the “pow” factor.
Small things create big feelingsThe Christmas cracker was invented by Tom Smith, a London-based confectioner and baker, in the 1800s. He came up with the idea when he saw Parisian bonbons wrapped in a twist of tissue paper and decided to sell similarly wrapped sweets. The pop, bad jokes, and paper hats came later, but who would’ve thought that a man who plagiarised French treat packaging would spearhead an annual tradition?
That’s just the thing: something so small and instant made millions of people happier and it’s not rocket science to use it. This is the essence of UX: People shouldn’t have to think about it to use it, otherwise it becomes work.
Are people really that lazy? Yes, they are. The world consists of scientists, engineers and inventors doing all the heavy lifting to make life easier, simpler, and more straightforward for the rest of the world. For us.
Critical elements of website UX1. Is it useful? Although some Christmas cracker content are silly, others are pretty useful, like nail clippers, plastic cellphone stands, paperclips, and mini screwdrivers. So, when it comes to your website UX, the online journey must be purposeful and give users the products, services and feelings they’re looking for.
2. Is it easy to use? Christmas crackers aren’t wrapped in duct tape because that would make them too difficult for people to use. Don’t go overboard with graphics, buttons, fire shows, and acrobats if it’s not part of what you’re selling – or just because you can. Make each page and action easy enough for distracted, busy people to figure out.
3. Is it familiar? There’s a reason why retailers haven’t changed the general shape, packaging and mechanism of Christmas crackers. Here it is: Users don’t want to learn new ways of getting their “PAH” fix. They understand and enjoy the current design. And the same goes for website UX. Don’t have fancy graphics for the sake of it. Don’t make your users relearn the system each time. Make bits of it fun and unique, but retain all the elements people know and understand, like standard names in the menu bar.
4. Is it effective? It’s not enough that your website has clickable links. Broken URLs, errors, bugs, lags, and pop-ups make people angrier than when the Christmas cracker’s popper fails. Test, retest and repeat to ensure that the website works effectively. Then, conduct website analytics, surveys, and user interviews to make absolutely sure.
5. Is it efficient? Do users need to climb through hoops and whistle “My bonnie lies over the ocean” to get to your Services page? If so, try switching web developers. Wordiness, visual overstimulation, and lagging pages are instant turnoffs for users, so make sure your website doesn’t take them on a magic carpet trip around the world.
6. Is it relevant? Retailers don’t advertise Christmas crackers in March; they hide them in storage until November to dust them off for all of the Christmas hysterics. In other words, ensure that your brand image, reputation, and identity are relevant and desirable enough to provoke an emotional response from users; to resonate with them.
7. Is it enjoyable? When your website UX is useful, relevant, user-friendly and efficient, you can add the cherry on top. Add something that would make the website good with or without it, like the joke in the Christmas cracker. The jokes are quirky, but the cracker is fun with or without it, and it brings a smile to people’s faces (even if it’s a cringe).
Need help making your website UX pop? Call us and we’ll have a crack at it.
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