UX is Magic!
Magic and UX Design? Seriously? Here’s the deal. I tell everybody that I create and design a User Experience. But what I actually do is design and create a useflow, or usecases, or a user interface, or talk a lot in meetings, or any number of fancy deliverables (yes, talking in meetings, too, can be a deliverable).
The person next to me in the project creates powerpoints, or market insights, or code, or installs a particularly nifty piece of software. So does that mean that the creator of powerpoints is somehow exempt from the creation of the User Experience? Or is it that only when all useflows, and powerpoints, and talking, and coding is done, we get whatever it is that is meant to give users an experience.
User Experience is not something you design, it is what happens to the User when you – and everybody else on the project – have done their doing. And it that sense it is like magic.
Like Harry Potter?
‘Fraid not. Out here in the real world, Magic is a concept that says one thing and does the other: it asserts that the penny in the Magicians hand has appeared behind your ear out of thin air through a manner of magicke far beyond the understanding of your puny mind, while actually it was a slight of hand, a flow of particular movements practiced meticulously and used to give you a particular experience – making you believe, that the coin was conjured up from behind your ear, not hidden in the hand the entire time.
And how is that UX Design?
Like a Magician, UX creates a view of the world that works for the user – fulfills his expectations, delivers what he’s paid for and – if done just right – delights and entertains. For that to work, the audience has to be on board, willing to be part of the show. UX design can do dome work towards that end, the rest is up to the audience (unless you want to completely lead them by the nose). So has the Magician created Magic? He has as much as the audience. Both designed it by setting out on a path to create the experience. They called this path magic, and created the experience of a giggle and a tingle down your spine.
Path with no name
User Experience is another name for that path. Those that go to Las Vegas to have coins plucked from behind their ears (and those that are in Las Vegas waiting to do the plucking) together chose to travel down a path called Magic. Those that want to create a User Experience need to find and name their path together with those, that want to travel down that path – even though it will, in most cases, not end in a giggle and a tingle down your spine. But remember – while some elements may seem familiar every time you wander down that path, if true, it is new every time. It is only UX Magic, if you do not go down the same path every time. As the teacher said:
The Tao that can be trodden is not the enduring and unchanging Tao. The name that can be named is not the enduring and unchanging name.
(Conceived of as) having no name, it is the Originator of heaven and earth; (conceived of as) having a name, it is the Mother of all things.