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In 2014, it’s no longer enough for our designed products and experiences to only be usable. Today’s modern audiences are exposed to an ever-increasing number of delightful, pleasurable and memorable experiences on a daily basis. Expectations are at an all-time high.
In a world where the perceived value associated with delightful experiences can help set a product apart from the competition, how can we as the designers of experiences stay on top of our game? What is this intangible ‘delight’ thing anyway, and is it even possible to create it?
CAN YOU WIREFRAME DELIGHTFUL?
Delight is that word we use to
describe those pleasurable moments
in digital and offline products, that
make an experience just that little
bit more fun.
Our inspiration for this talk came
from this article :
Some things can’t be wireframed
An example of delight that the
author mentions is Squarespace,
which makes great use of beautiful
imagery and typography …
…but if we were to wireframe
It doesn’t convey the same
feeling of delight at all.
Another example the article mentions
is the Keezy app.
Keezy may never have been as
delightful if it had been “wireframed”.
RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS HELP SHOW YOU
THE WORKFLOWS, USABILITY PRINCIPLES
ENSURE IT’S CLEAR AND INTUITIVE, BUT
HOW DO YOU GET TO DELIGHTFUL? YOU’RE
ON YOUR OWN THERE.
The article concludes by saying that designing for delight is
difficult, risky and messy, and that there is no real trick to it.
Which left us asking more questions.
So we wanted to take this
opportunity to investigate further…
Is there actually a formula to
adding delight to the things that
But first things first - Why WE CARE?
should we even care about
Isn’t it just a meaningless
• Great First Impression
• Memorable / Sharable
• Happy Users = Loyal Users
But Delight is what makes your
users fall in love with your product.
There are clearly benefits to
offering a delightful experience.
Of course - delight isn’t the be
all and end all.
As Aarron Walter has said, our
products need to Functional,
Reliable, and Usable first.
AARRON WALTER - DESIGNING FOR EMOTION
That said, Delight isn’t something
that you can just tack on.
We need to be creating minimum
delightful products, that bake in
Delight from day one.
Let’s have a look at some
examples of delight.
A beautifully designed interface,
like AirBnB, is a common and
Microcopy helps break down any
barriers that might exist between
human and computer, reminding
users that there are real people
behind a product.
Captivating animations like those
used to create parallax scrolling
effects is another common way to
Campaign Monitor’s mobile app
website does a great job of this.
We mentioned Keezy before - it’s
a wonderful example of how tactile
transitions and interactions can
make something delightful.
TRANSITIONS & INTERACTIONS
Done well, sound can also be used
to delight. Like that lovely twinkling
bell sound when you tick off a to-do
item in Wunderlist.
These examples are what we
call ‘Surface’ delight.
They are often very obvious
Surface delight can be very
But the problem with these
types of delight is that they
fade over time.
So we were interested in
exploring if there was a deeper
level of delight, beyond this
So we explored a little further…
“IT JUST WORKS”
A delightful user experience is
often about Invisibility. Getting out
of the user’s way.
Or something that “Just Works”.
Deeper delight is also about getting
users into a state of ‘flow’; that
feeling of being completely
absorbed in what you are doing,
where nothing else seems to matter.
MIHALY CSIKSZENTMIHALY - FLOW
iA Writer is a super simple
writing app, and a great
example of a product that
gets you into a flow state.
PAIN POINT DELIGHT
GILES COLBORNE - CX PARTNERS
Pain points in an experience that are
resolved effortlessly can actually
become moments of delight.
This is something that Giles Colborne
has spoken about.
Don Norman talks about a
“reflective layer” of a design -
Which isn’t about the product at
all, but more what the product
evokes in the user.
ENGAGEMENT AND DELIGHT
HOW THE THING PERFORMS
WHAT THE THING EVOKES IN THE USER
REMOVE THE UNNECESSARY
INTEGRITY & AUTHENTICITY
Dana Chisnell describes a third
level of delight - “Meaning”.
This is where a deeper level of
delight is felt through an
organisation having values that
align with the user’s.
SAMUEL HULICK - USERONBOARD.COM
We realised that Deep Delight
delight isn’t about your
product at all, it’s actually
about your user.
But let’s not confuse true delight with
Delight isn’t about ‘badges’. It’s about
helping users improve their skills, their
health, and their lives …
IT’S NOT GAMIFICATION
KATHY SIERRA - THE KICK ASS CURVE
…It’s about helping users “Kick
Ass”, as Kathy Sierra put it.
So we need to help our users get
from “suck” to “awesome” as
quickly as possible.
GETTING TO DEEPER DELIGHT
• How do we get out of a users’ way? And into
• How de we over-deliver at the pain-points
• How does our product align with their values?
• How dow we help them “Kick Ass”?
So deeper delight is about
understanding our users.
It’s about knowing who they are,
what’s important to them, and
what progress looks like in their
life, not just on their screen.
Delight isn’t just a simple, single,
It’s much more complex an
operates across multiple levels.
is often invisible
has a higher purpose
is the first date
is the relationship
is product focussed
is user focussed
DELIGHT IS AS MUCH ART
AND ‘FEEL’ AS IT IS
Delight is part science (where our UX skills
come in) and part art.
The art is about knowing when to apply just
the right amount of delight, and at what level.
A great example of an organisation
has really nailed it is Simple bank.
They manage to delight customers on
On the surface, their UI is
gorgeous and their microcopy
is lovely and fun.
But at a deeper level, they
understand what people really
want from a bank.
They create Meaning, and a
deeper level of delight, by
disrupting the ‘fees and charges’
model of most other banks.