What is the best form of user experience? It is not the one that everyone adopts and likes. Because such a thing is not possible. It is not possible, as there cannot be a common consciousness working for all of us. But what if…we (consumers) don’t even know OR don’t consciously think about, while enjoying the experience? Subconscious takes over. And this may be close to a perfect UX – that’s universal in nature.
What makes this possible? Giving out something that’s “not apparent”. Hidden. Masked. Shielded. Obscured. Completely Invisible!
It’s easy to grasp if you think about it. It’s hard to take a side, or comment or like/dislike something that’s not out there, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, this doesn’t satiate the craving a designer/creator might have – that of people recognizing and praising the experience, due to the creation. Sometimes, it is a functional choice that the creator knows that he has to hide to avoid annoyance. For instance, absence of annoying pop-ups is effectively a positive user experience – without the users realizing it. Another example is of Disney – used in my very first blog.
Let’s capture some random “products” and “existences” from the physical and software world to drive our point home – that “Invisible is the Best User Experience!”
- Sun (yes, our father star).
- Anti-virus (quietly functioning in the background)
- System-backup (slowing down your system perhaps, but ensuring a smooth UX and recovery during breakdown)
- Hotel ambiance (side accessories that you don’t consciously focus on)
- Music in Spa/Airport/Mall (almost inaudible)
- Auto-schedule/update (Windows, Chrome)
- Mild Fragrance (or absence of foul smell) in a Restroom
- Scent of Food (while eating)
- Car/vehicle (you don’t even realize or pause to appreciate the positions of brake and accelerator)
- Taste of water
- Ads or pop-ups (absence is bliss)
- Security (money in the bank, watchmen at the house gate – these things become invisible as taken for granted, which relieves us from some fear, hence causing good user experience, without consciously knowing about it)
- Melody (it’s the absence of notes at appropriate places that makes a song/tune good to listen to; choice of song may be subjective, but the way “melody” is consumed is invisible, hence universal)
and many more, if we start looking around with a microscopic eye. We can draw inspirations and utilize the known results of how the experience is universal of several hidden elements, and start applying them in our professional/personal life.
Be it user interfaces, system features, business proposal, our behavior, manners, choice of words, attire…everything can have the desired “invisible” acceptance, if you masterfully hide something that is likely to cause a split perception.