How to Apply Key UX Techniques to Your Actual Life

June 23, 2016

For those of you familiar with this site, you’ll notice the transection at play between strategy, philosophy and design. I’m fascinated by processes, systems and techniques designed to harbour greater efficiency. But I often struggle to apply them back to real, tangible actions.

This is a problem I notice with the majority of writing reserved for the web and blogs in particularly. The reader is constantly tasked with cutting through the metaphor in order to determine what exactly they should be expending their energy on. That can prove frustrating.

Whether the onus is on the creator to do that however, is still in question. For the most part, I’d side with the artist every day of the week. Reason being? It’s much harder to create than consume. That’s why we procrastinate and deliberate so often in the information-gathering phase. And find it so difficult to simply jump in and start. 

Through studying the field of User Experience (UX) though, especially as it relates nowadays given the nature of the web, is it not possible to improve as communicative beings to better solve the problems of our audience? 

I’d argue, through my brief initiation in the field, that it is largely instructive in helping to shape us into more effective communicators. At the heart of the field runs deep psychological enquiry. It’s that investigation, the turning of the focus away from our own assumptions and perceptions to actually observing human behaviour and what our intended audience wants to do, that is paramount.

Because of that I’d urge all creative-centred workers to at least try and educate themselves in the core aspects of UX. Do that and hopefully you’ll gain greater insight as to how what you do is received in the larger context of the world.

But that’s not the only benefit of studying UX.

School yourself in its most basic principles and you’ll notice ways in which you can apply these lessons back to you as a person. Hopefully making you better as a result. 

As for the things that might be possible to intrinsically apply? Why not start with the following.

Aesthetics

One of the most respected people in the field of UX, James Breeze, noticed through his research into design and information architecture, that there is a common repeated behaviour among users that related to physicality.

“Humans tend to gravitate towards and identify with pictures of other humans. We have an innate instinct to look at faces to understand a person’s feelings and mood.”

Surprising given the amount of empty or default profile photos there are for accounts on the web. Even more so when you consider the reality of how we interact with one another on a daily basis.

Point being; aesthetics and appearances still count.

Which puts even greater importance on taking care of yourself physically and thinking about how you present yourself to the world.

So work out, eat healthy, try not to dress too badly and wash with regularity. Work actively to better your physical image. Not damage it.

People will simply respond to you better.

First Impressions 

If that primer wasn’t enough to drill home the importance of presenting your best face to the world, then take on board the human tendency to stick to primary assumptions. Especially those made on first-meeting.

When UX-expert Steve Krug writes; “when we find something that works, we stick to it..once we find something that works – no matter how badly – we tend not to look for a better way”, he gives us hope however.

The impression we have to make? Doesn’t have to be overwhelmingly spectacular. But enough to fulfil expectations.

Get that wrong first time however and you’ll very quickly be forgotten or glossed over.

Social Investment

Then there’s the idea of making yourself useful to people in a way that makes it easy for them. Just like UX is designed to, as Krug says, “do the right thing and be considerate of the user”, our lives too should be a reflection of that.

What can we do to meet the needs of those who interact with us? And how do we communicate clearly to them so that they get those needs met?

These are the key UX questions that are directly applicable to living a good life.