May the Fourth be with you! To celebrate the Force, we’ve collected six user experience lessons from Star Wars. Ready, are you?
May the 4th has come back around and we’re loving it! Today we’re looking at some UX design lessons from the Star Wars movies. So throw on your Jedi robe, grab your light saber and read on for six user experience insights from Star Wars, from user research and usability testing to the dark side of the user interface. R’iia’s shorts!
Know your user, win them over
In the carbon freeze sequence of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Leia rushes over to Hans as he is lowered into a carbonite mold to be frozen alive. She tells Hans that she loves him, with Hans due to reply,“I love you, too”. But instead, actor Harrison Ford opts for the now infamous works, “I know”, stunning his audience. This haunting sequence has become one of the most iconic scenes for Star Wars fans.
Here’s your UX design lesson: when creating digital products, it’s all about stunning your audience, winning over the user. Winning over the user comes down to great user experiences, which are achieved through useful, usable and credible interactions and encounters. To create such interactions, you need to show that you know your users: that you understand what they want and need.
User research is essential to understanding their end goals and creating products based on these goals. To focus your design process around the user, consider developing personas. Personas can help you represent your main target user segments, get a clear picture of your users’ expectations, uncover gaps in your workflow and prioritize new features around your users. With your personas defined, you’re one step closer to maximizing the user experience.
If something works well, people will keep using it
“The force is strong in this one”, is the infamous phrase used by the oracle Yoda to describe a powerful Jedi in Episode IV: A New Hope. The force is an energy field that connects all living things in the galaxy. Light or dark side, the power of the force is a recurring theme throughout the Star Wars saga and contributes directly to almost all of the important story lines. What can we learn from the continuous use of the force? Use what works well over and over again.
Users are habitual: we like what we like. In the digital sphere, habits can be a wonderful thing. They increase customer lifetime value and growth (habitual users return, not churn) as well as improve a brand’s validity (users are less likely to stop using a product or service they’ve become attached to).
This year’s Global Digital report shows that more than half of the world’s web traffic now comes from mobile phones and more than one in five of the world’s population has shopped online in the past 30 days. If we’re able to use a product and enjoy it, why change things?
Users will come back to digital products that are enjoyable as well as usable. The secret to creating such experiences is making complex tasks seem simple and intuitive.
To achieve this, design with real examples and visualize your end product from the start. Prototypes are the way to do this. With prototyping tools, like Justinmind, you design your actual product from the very beginning. Drive your ideas forward, from paper to interface without fuss. Find a workflow that works, and stick to it. We know you will! We’re creatures of habit after all 😉
Try, try and try again
When Yoda said “Do or do not. There is no try.”, he was trying to instill confidence in young Luke Skywalker when trying to use the force, in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.
The lesson we learn from Yoda is to stop trying and just do, with trying essentially equating to not doing something. There is no try.
Well, maybe not in Star Wars. But in UX, there is always room to try. In fact, UX Designers are constantly trying, testing and defending their ideas. Whether with their team, boss or with clients, designers present their work to help visualize an end product, gather feedback to improve their designs, or sell ideas.
How you present your idea is always going to have an impact on how your audience perceives that idea. A great presentation can be the difference between trying and doing, achieving and failing. So make sure you set yourself up for success. Think about how you’re going to share your designs and who is going to see them. Read more on how prototyping tools can help you to present your designs here.
The Dark side of user experience
With the struggle of good versus evil ever-present, the themes of deception and suspicion are prominent throughout the Star Wars saga.
Deception also plays its part in user experience. Yep, we’re talking dark patterns. Dark patterns are user interfaces that have been craftily designed to deceive users into doing things they might not otherwise agree to do. For example, providing credit card details for a ‘free’ trial– ‘forced continuity’ – or paying hidden costs without consent.
These patterns are deceptively adept, requiring a deep understanding of user psychology and using knowledge of user behavior against them. To counteract the dark side of UX, darkpatterns.org was created in August 2010 to name and shame deceptive user interfaces, and help users kick them to the curb.
Don’t trust anything, test everything
“There is no such thing as luck”, says Obi-Wan Kenobi, after having survived order 66 in Episode IV: A New Hope.
There’s no luck when it comes to usability either. In fact, a great deal of time, effort and testing is put into good usability.
When creating great user experience, we can’t take the user’s word as gospel. Users always lie. How users tell you they behave is so different from how they actually behave. As UX and user research experts Demetrius Madrigal and Bryan McClain put it: “All of the small bits and pieces of information that is emitted by a person at any given moment amount to so much more than the words that they speak.”
The solution is in user research: observing users, testing ideas and iterate user interfaces until you’ve got it right. A great starting point is to conduct user observations to tap into user behavior patterns and understand their needs. Usability tests are also a good way to learn more about users. Read up on the top 7 best usability testing tools available here.
User experience is alive and kicking
When people first started talking about user experience, it was usually when something had gone wrong. But things have changed. People have woken up to the importance of user experience and user-centered design. From a business value point of view, keeping users happy should be top priority. If users don’t know how to interact with your product and don’t enjoy it, they’re not coming back. End of.
Now, the only thing left to do is to pick a UX strategy and…