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The User Experience Relationship

Last week a co-worker forwarded these images on the differences in how people communicate to the customer based on their role, e.g., marketing vs. advertising vs. branding.

I thought the design one was pretty clever, but of course I had to add my own for user experience.

For user experience designers, it isn’t about us. It’s about the customer. Moreover, it’s about showing the customer we love them more than we need them to love us. The conversation is completely flipped.

Are companies ready to stop telling and start loving?

[Images originally posted at Steal This Idea by Neutron LLC.]

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  • http://paul-blunden.com/ Paul Blunden

    Hi Whitney,
    found your blog through this and I think it is great. Have RSS’d to you now so keep the good stuff coming. I will be adding number 8 on my own blog…

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  • http://paulisakson.typepad.com/ paul isakson

    Hmmm… I love that you did this. Great idea.

    Question though… Is the brand really telling the person/user/consumer they’re a great lover in UX or would the brand be asking the person, “How do you want to be loved?” Or maybe, “How can I be a better lover?”

    I could be wrong. I’m not an expert on UX. I’m trying to learn more though. And based on my understanding so far, UX seems to be more about having a good understanding of what people want so you can provide it for them/help them get it vs. telling them/giving them what you want.

    To me, telling the customer/user/consumer/person they’re a great lover would seem more like great customer service.

    Just a thought/question. You will most certainly know better than I on this.

  • http://www.whitneyhess.com/blog whitney

    Paul, you bring up a great point: as user experience designers, our job isn’t to tell the user anything, but instead to create a pleasurable environment for them. In order to do that, we have to ask questions. But we do tend to find that asking, “How can I be better?” doesn’t yield the best results. People don’t always know what they need, and it’s our job to tease it out of them.

    Maybe instead the UX statement is: “Help me be the best lover you’ve ever had.”

    I love your blog and I think you have great insights. Thanks for commenting here!

  • http://paulisakson.typepad.com/ paul isakson

    Haha. Now I’m embarrassed. One, you’re too kind. Two, I’ve been involved in more than enough research to know better than to ask people what they want. You’re right.

    Thanks for framing it up much better. It is in getting them talking that we can uncover the insights that let us give them the things they didn’t even know they wanted yet.

    Given your thoughts, maybe the real statement is not above the man’s head, but instead is above the woman’s head and says something to the effect of, “You always know exactly what I want. You are the most amazing lover I’ve ever had.”

    Oh boy. I feel kind of dirty now. Sorry. But I think that’s maybe a bit more accurate?

    Thanks again for the kind words. And thank you more for the challenge to my thoughts and for educating me further on UX.

  • http://www.sokohl.com Joe Sokohl

    Jesus, Whitney, why are you so freakin' smart? Thanks for posting this, and thanks for your take on the “conversation.” Maybe the UX panel would be a thought bubble with, “Wow! She's a great lover!” That is, the experiential aspect is an internalized one, whereas a branding engagemtn is externalized. Still, thanks for your take. Got me thinking today!

    • http://www.whitneyhess.com/blog Whitney Hess

      So true! It’s something felt, not necessarily expressed

  • http://www.grablove.com/ love relationships

    Thanks Whitney for posting this….Great article ..and that was the reasons why I subscribed to your RSS feeds

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