🧑‍🤝‍🧑User Experience Design: Designing for People

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External Resources

Gilbert, R. (2019). Inclusive Design for a Digital World: Designing with accessibility in mind. S.l.: APRESS.

Hodent, C. (2018). The gamer's brain: How neuroscience and UX can impact video game design. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group.

Norman, D. A. (2013). The design of everyday things. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Yablonski, J. (2020). Laws of UX: Using psychology to Design Better Products & Services. O'Reilly Media.


UX is how a user interacts with and experiences a product, system or service. It includes a person's perceptions of utility, ease of use, and efficiency.

UX design consists of creating and analyzing the overall experience of a targeted user interacting with a product, especially when compared with the intentions of the individuals who made the product.

The designer (or developer) when creating this product has a mental model of what the system will exist as, and creates the product with this intention in mind. However, when the user interacts with and experiences the system, they have no background on how it should exist, only as it does. So they develop a mental model of the system separate from that of the creator.

The job of a UX Designer is to align these two mental models as closely as possible to limit the amount of friction potentially caused by the system.

Design for Flexibility

In spatial computing there is no place for rigidity of input because humans have preferences and needs in the way we interact with objects.

Interaction with physical objects isn't just based off of a learned experience, but is also largely based off of ableness (rotation, dexterity, etc), genetic tendency (left vs right handedness), and the size of the space (scalability).

This means that products designed with embodied interactions in mind need to consider user preference and accessibility in their own physical space.

Prioritize Features from Pillars

What is the most important takeaway? What do we want our players to come back to and relearn?

  1. Decide on the "elevator pitch" of your experience which should consist of no more than two sentences

  2. Using this, create a list of the most important aspects of your application (draw, cook, socialize, etc.)

  3. Distill those down into (at most 3-4) pillars: these pillars are going to be the foundation of your product

  4. Create an ordered list of features from these pillars, with the most important features of the app at the top

  5. Format a diagram (information architecture) that follows both hierarchy and navigation of these potential features in the app

Considerations for Positive UX

The user should be able to comfortably utilize both hardware and software.

This could include avoiding nausea or disorientation - but it also goes a step further. The user should be personally comfortable the environment with their body in the way the system intends (ie using their left hand if they are left-handed). Usability is vitally important to hardware and software integration, because different body types require diversified interactions.

The user should be able to understand the rules of the environment around them.

VR/AR experiences exist in an alternate world with potentially different logic from that of the physical world. Building a world requires a logical structure with consistent consequences of action and reaction. Like many literary worlds, it doesn't need to be an exact replica of reality, but it needs to have rules and logic for the user to understand. This logic could come from both a literal or figurative sense in terms of seeing or interpreting their surroundings.

The user should be able to feel grounded in a completely unfamiliar reality.

They need to feel like they belong and have agency. Many people first experiencing VR/AR often exhibit a type of decision paralysis or 'freeze factor' by staying in one location or hesitating to engage. They don't know what they can and cannot do, and they don't know the repurcussions of their actions. This is why a guide (or onboarding) is often necessary. The user is given permission to do something that allows them to postively contribute, an action to complete.

The user should be able to complete an action and feel a sense of achievement.

The word "fiero" is referenced in Games UX often to represent this concept. It is what a user feels once they have triumphed over a difficulty or trial. This could be something small or large but the most important part is that the user is praised for completing the task. Most gaming interactions continue in this cycle of continued challenge to achievement throughout the experience, over time allowing them to become more competent in the system.

The user should be able to gain knowledge and understanding that is valuable to them.

Once the user is oriented, they need to be able to explore the environment around them and learn from that environment in a meaningful way. This is an important step as it very much solidifies a user's belongingness within the environment. The user is entirely in control of how they choose to engage, and each person has different needs and desires in relation to the experience.

The user should be able to extend a form of responsibility or control over the environment.

This is essential for VR/AR experiences, as the medium itself gives back the power of perspective to the user. This includes being able to contribute to the environment or characters through designated interactions. Allowing for continued learning and exploration through control helps with a feeling og familiarity and eventually mastery.

The user should be able to pursue growth within the environment.

This point often goes unconsidered until the success of a platform has been achieved through enough users, but people who use a system frequently often engage with it differently than new users. This point goes both ways: new users should be able to feel their goals of persistent use are allowing them to slowly master the system, and experienced users within the system should feel that they have achieved enough knowledge that allows them to use the experience faster or navigate the experience more easily than newer users.

The user should be motivated beyond the experience itself.

Obviously those that are interested in the creation of the technology itself believe it to be enjoyable to use. However, not many consumers are interested in VR/AR content simply because it exists on VR/AR devices. This could be for many reasons, but ultimately the system itself needs to provide a purpose or fulfill a need for your user to consider it worthwhile. This purpose could be entertainment, but any form of reward needs to be evaluated against the cost we are asking of them to adopt an entirely new form of computing.

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