[This article first appeared in The Drum magazine “UX Guide” – October 2013]

The human experience is increasingly mediated by technology, both hardware and software. In addition to the large and small screens in our lives, the evolution of wearable technologies gives rise to a whole new category of experience design challenges. To ensure that our technologies and services provide a human experience we can benefit from some of these principles.

Service the need beyond the touchpoint

People typically have a chain of needs to meet in order to reach their end goal. John might want to have an enjoyable family holiday they all remember. That’s the goal. If he’s at your website checking currency exchange rates, that’s why. Be more human by helping him achieve the goal beyond the immediate need.

Respond to context

Most human communication is non-verbal. The closest a digital service can come to this level of humanity (at time of writing) is to “read” the context of the person. If John is accessing your gym website from his mobile at 11pm on New Years Eve, respond appropriately.

Remove interface

Human beings (most of them) are good at putting themselves in someone else’s shoes, seeing things from another’s point of view, anticipating what might happen next and taking action. Design services that anticipate needs and automate action without requiring anyone to navigate through your interface. This will be increasingly important as wearable technologies proliferate.

Use a human frame

Lastly, talk like a human being. Don’t talk like a technical manual or a sales script or a legal document. If your Next Gen MetaWave Oven has a 5TB solid-state drive and quantum-entangled logic engine, talk about the number and type of cook-on-demand recipes it can make for you. If the car you’re selling has a 560 litre boot, talk about what you can fit into it.

Photo Credit: Alex Dram cc