Looking Through the Eyeglass in Reverse

I was talking with a fellow UX professional and the conversation quickly turned into a discussion about design. It seems like every product or service has their, “don’t get me started” black-eye. No matter how elegant, wonderful, thoughtful, and well-orchestrated the product is, that bastard child always seems to be present.

Too often we measure the success of our designs by their best behaviors and ideal scenarios. Very rarely, if at all, do we use the worst case as a metric of success. It seems like we put the worst case into a dark corner of our minds and find comfort in the fact that it should be the exception, not the norm.

I’m sorry, but that’s just not good enough.

Acknowledging the flaws is the first step. The second step involves putting yourself in the persons shoes living through that experience. How do you make it right by them?

Garth BrooksGarth Brooks figured this out. Before every concert he personally tours the venue where he is performing with a simple goal; Find the absolute worst seat in the house. Just like designs, every venue has one. Behind some structural pillar, or at the very top row furthest from the stage, etc. Once the concert begins he sends one of his crew members back to those seats with front-row tickets for those people. The people who paid with their hard-earned money to see him perform even if they were the crappiest seats in the house. The deserving fans.

Imagine their surprise when this happens. Their state of mind goes from, “Hey, the seats might suck but we’re seeing Garth Brooks perform live!” to “Holy shit! Garth Brooks just personally gave us front-freakin row tickets!” Garth doesn’t stop there. At some point during his performance he brings them up on stage and sings a song to them.

Best. Experience. Ever.

How does your design or experience work from the metaphorical back row?

About the author

Terry Blanchard

I'm the Vice President of Engineering at Readdle, ex-Apple, design evangelist, drummer, and gadget junkie extraordinaire.

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