9 awesome design documentaries for user experience designers
Watch these best design documentaries online for awesome insights into user behavior and design principles
Designers, it’s time to kick back, pop some corn and watch these awesome UX friendly documentaries online. While user experience may not yet have been the subject of a blockbuster movie (holding out for that!), there are still plenty of great documentaries available to watch online. And a lot of them are free!
Justinmind has listed our top movies for UX inspiration: from taped psychology experiments to paeans to perfect fonts, there’s something for every user experience designer out there.
Connecting: A Documentary on UX, UI & Interaction Design
Finally, user experience got its own movie! In Connecting, we take a look of the future of interaction design and how it will impact the humans behind the concept ‘user’. There are great interviews that give you a new perspective on why we design experiences, and how much there is still to discover in the user experience field.
Phantoms in the Brain
This BBC documentary goes deep into the human mind, that trickiest of user research subjects. How do users think, and what influences human perception? In Phantoms in the Brain Neuroscientist VS Ramachandran provides a fresh look at many aspects of the human consciousness that relate to user experience – visual perception, categorization, unconscious bias, cognitive load and more. What makes the documentary really great is Ramachandran’s dry delivery and amazing interview with ‘anomalies’ – people who fall outside the normative cognition spectrum. A great documentary for UXers into the mystery of the human mind.
A must-watch for designers of any stripe, not just UXers. Helvetica is the story of how a humble typefont came to represent something deeper about modern life. Mixing reflections on urban space with interviews with some big design names (think Massimo Vignelli, Win Crouwel and Jonathan Hoffler) the documentary goes behind the scenes of some of the world’s most famous urban design decisions – the typefaces we see and use every day. “When I started this project, I couldn’t believe that a film like this didn’t exist already, because these people are gods and goddesses,” says Helvetica director Gary Hustwit. “What they do is more than just logos and corporate branding – they design the type that we read every day in newspapers and magazines, onscreen and on television. Fonts don’t just appear out of Microsoft Word: there are human beings and huge stories behind them.”
Atari: Game Over
The story of the death of a company, Atari: Game Over is a great watch for user experience professionals who want to learn valuable lessons. The documentary tells the tale of Atari, who in a mere decade went from the fastest growing company in the US to bankruptcy and dissolution. How? It all has to do with making a video game that flopped, and rushing digital products through production without listening to users along the way.
The Power of the Situation
The Power of the Situation is a thrilling (and sometimes chilling) study of behavioral causes. It centers around a study done in the 1970s, in which a group of students were divded into two groups – half ‘prisoners’ and half ‘guards’, and assigned to live out their roles over two weeks. We won’t tell you what happened, but suffice to say that you’ll learn a ton about motivation, behavior and creating situations that engender certain outcomes.
Many UXers are now working in an explicitly ‘design thinking’ environment. But just how can we use this methodology to its maximum, and can it really change the world? DesignAndThinking brings together businessmen, creators, designers, entrepreneurs and more to debate the potential of design thinking, what we can learn from designers, and how design thinking can be levied in everything from digital products to social justice.
Britain’s Supermarket Revolution: What’s in it for us?
What does the United Kingdom’s grocery scene have to do with UX, you might be wondering? Actually, quite a lot, as this BBC documentary shows. In Britain’s Supermarket Revolution we go into customer experience and persuasion on a grand scale – the move to digial grocery shopping, online-offline store psychology, behavioral economics and the psychology of why we buy. This documentary packs a lot in 30 minutes.
Another classic documentary for all designers, Objectified examines “our complex relationship with manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them.” This entails peeking into the creative process of some of the world’s best known designers, and what our relationships to objects says about us as individuals. The film is mainly about physical products, but it will give user experience professionals a warm fuzzy feeling about design as a whole.
The Men Who Made Us Spend
All UXers who are fans of Mad Men definitely need to watch The Men Who Made Us Spend. In the three-part series, presenter Jacques Peretti investigates some of the psychological tactics driving consumerism. ‘Planned obsolescence’, making objects with an intentionally short lifespan and the thrill of the new all get a thorough examination.