What is UX?
In 2006, Aza Raskin was trying to find a way to improve user experience (UX) online by reducing the amount of clicks to get from page to page (known as pagination). And he came up with a nifty idea which would revolutionise the way we consume digital media. An idea that would change the world.
How does UX impact me?
In 2006, Raskin realised that he could create a page that would never come to an end. Today we call it ‘the infinite scroll’. And even though it wasn’t that long ago, I bet you can’t remember life before it. It’s become so ingrained to our online experience that you probably didn’t even think about it until just now.
It’s just a simple trick
The Infinite scroll became so popular because it exploits not one, but two mental quirks that make it irresistible to us: unit bias and operant conditioning.
Unit bias is a basic human desire to complete a unit of something. We believe that whatever amount we’re given, is the ‘right’ amount, so we try to finish it to gain satisfaction. That’s why we feel compelled to finish a glass of water or watch all the reels in our Instagram feed.
Operant conditioning is the use of reward and punishment to reinforce certain behaviours. To reinforce addictive behaviour, surprisingly it’s not reward or punishment that has the most impact, but the element of unpredictability. If we win or lose too often, we get bored. But when there’s just the right amount of win/lose, it’s easy to get addicted. The psychology crowd call it ‘variable ratio reinforcement’. You keep scrolling through your feed because of the possibility, not the guarantee of seeing something you’ll like.
With power comes responsibility
Raskin publicly regretted inventing such an addictive design feature; one that not only improves the user experience, but one that also keeps them online for as long as possible. He has since founded the The Center for Humane Technology and spoken out about the responsibility we all have in building a healthier digital future.
The moral of this story is that UX – or User Experience – is a way of controlling user behaviour and it can be a very powerful tool. It can even change the world. However, for most of us, it’s just a thing that makes our website easy to use, or even better, a pleasure to use.
Ergonomics for the mind and body
Just like there’s ergonomics for our body there’s ergonomics for our mind and the way our brains store, organise and recall information. Both ergonomic factors come into play when we design any digital artefact, whether it’s an app, a platform, or a website. Anything from how we use our hand on the mouse, to navigational ease and how we make sense of the information most efficiently, all of it comes into play when we think about user experience.
A big idea
So, while UX isn’t a word, heck, it’s not even an acronym, it is a big idea. Intuitive UX can make a huge difference to the way you present your brand and connect with your audience.
Want to know more? Give us a call and we’ll chat about how we can change your world.