What Being a Young Mother Taught Me About UX

There is no bond as powerful as the one between a mother and child. When my son Antonio was born 10 months ago I was overwhelmed, really confused and of course in love. As parents we try to design the best world possible for our children. As UX designers we try to create the best possible product experience for our users. So what do these two worlds have in common and what did my baby actually teach me about my users? 

These are my most important learnings.

Identify primary needs and help to satisfy them

When designing a product we should focus on the primary needs of the user. The best solutions that do not fit the problem at hand will cause user frustration although we meant well. If my son is hungry and I hand him great toys, he will not be satisfied. Although he may want to play with them later, it does not work the other way around. Once I figure out that he is hungry, the food better be ready as fast as possible. There is nothing more challenging than a hungry, screaming baby. 

This is the image I will have in mind when designing a checkout process in the future:

screaming baby

First times are tough but let users figure it out

We try to treat our first time users very well. This often leads to small tutorials, explanatory bubbles popping up in the interface or a video is shown that leaves no questions unanswered. Although explanations like these are sometimes necessary it is more appealing to users if they manage to figure it out on their own. When my son tries to reach an object I feel the urge to just hand it to him. Once he has the object he should be satisfied right? But crawling to the object is part of the journey. Only when he reaches the object by crawling there on his own, he is happy. Instead of overwhelming your users with help, stay in the background and be there when they ask for it. 

sipping_water

Good relationships need time

At the beginning Antonio’s expressions of dissatisfaction were not very clear to me and communication between us was full of misunderstandings. Those were really frustrating days for both of us. But by paying attention to my child in different situations I learned more and more about his character and his needs. After 10 months of data collection and thorough research I became better at problem solving and this made both of us happier. 

Take time to learn more about your users and be patient. Evaluate the data of your digital product and be open to changes. 

Evolve together

As your relationship becomes closer it is time to evolve together. What a user might have needed at the beginning is not necessary when he frequently interacts with your product. That is why I really like the idea of progressive reduction:

progressive_reduction

Help users through pain

Babies and users will suffer from pain sooner or later, no matter how good you are as a parent or UX Designer.

So what do I do when little Antonio cries from pain?

  • Have an open ear
  • Cuddle and say nice words
  • Distract him with something fun

And what can I do as a designer?

Give as much love ❤ as possible

As my midwife says, you cannot give too much love to your child. This is something you can adapt to your digital product. 

Make your users feel special, because they are. Without them your product is useless.

Although technology is great it can also feel impersonal. Find ways to spread love. If you get a chance to tell your users they are great, do it. Appreciate them for using your product.

Here are a few possibilities to spread love:

  • reward your frequent users
  • pay attention to small details
  • communicate like a human not a computer

And here is some love for you ❤


About the Author

Laura_Muller

Laura Müller is Team Lead & Senior UX Concept Specialist at MetaDesign. See what Laura has been up to via her LinkedIn Profile.