The User Experience and the Mug

I can’t talk about User Experience without talking about communication. It’s known that the communication is present since we know ourselves as a human.

Let’s take our bus to the past, and the stop is the Paleolithic period (I promise to be quick here!). Since the Paleolithic era, humans already had the capability to express their selves and the needing for communication by rock paintings, which are made using natural pigments extracted from seeds, fruits and barks. If I’m not wrong, those paintings date from 100 thousand years B.C. Smart guys, eh?

We can communicate in many ways today, whether by letters, math, music, gesture and even silence. Have you ever tried to list many ways we can communicate rather then texts or music? It’s countless!

One day I was talking about that with my friend having some coffee at work, when he start complaining about some job candidates that he interviewed that had serious communication problems. When I raised the following question:

“What about a mug? I would say that this mug has excellent communication skills!”

Very funny, I didn’t know you are such a bad person! – Er… Are you talking serious?

Yes! Think: If you look at your mug, you will know exactly how to manipulate it, the mug explains itself: It’s thick, so it tells you that it can hold hot liquids inside; it has a holder, so it tells that you need to hold from there to not burn your skin (and you did so), and, it has just one holder, so it suggests that may not be too heavy to hold with one hand.

A Mug, self explaining

Okay, but I know how to use a mug since I was a kid! It is not telling me anything now.

I know! That makes us moving to the next point: past experiences. We interacted with mugs for countless times, and this makes a single mug to communicate even better its purpose. A mug without a holder will probably surprise you; you don’t notice your interaction with something until you notice something missing, which could be frustrating.

When we have a communication failure, we broke the naturalness interaction with a giving object. This object could be anything from a nuclear power plant panel to… a single mug. It’s like a movie soundtrack, if you fail providing a good experience, people will notice and it will break the immersion that people have on the film, injuring the user experience.

Ooh! I know where you driving this now! So there is UX on this mug?

Yes! The universe where we can apply UX is huge, people think that user experience applies only to Web, or it is just a matter of a good graphic design. A good UX design is when you don’t notice it acting; you just do what you want to do naturally without hassles.

User experience plays with user expectations, past experiences, metaphors, semiotic, research, surveys and so. The final product will vary depending where you are applying it. The success is defined on how well the subject can communicate by itself

Wow, I didn’t expect to extend this topic until here

Neither do I! But I was eager to say that a long time ago, though.

And unexpected, I would say…

It was the quickest subject I could raise; the guy you are complaining was just behind you.

 – And about you, visitor. Have you notice or applied UX on stuff other then systems or web?

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