My coffee shop knows more about UX than you

31 Mar 20153 minutes read

Here’s my theory.

In UX design, when you observe people’s behaviours, they are more likely to perform or continue an action when they invest their own personal time into something, this is something one barista understands…

Here’s why…

Last week, I grabbed a drink in my local coffee shop. A chap came in and ordered his drink, and as the barista was making it, they asked the customer if they could “…just grab a glass from the cupboard behind you” and as you might expect, the customer replied with a slightly surprised “oh, err, sure” and off they went to find this shelf with the required glass. They came back triumphant with the glass in hand and the barista completed their order.

The barista was being intentional here. He knew that you have to involve your customer in creating the product. Why? When a customer helps create the drink they a rewarded with a greater sense of ownership and pride, in the product they just bought. Hopefully, they will come back and spend more money in future. Dentists use a similar trick of getting the patient to fill out their own appointment card.

Here comes the fun part, how can we apply this to the web?

With video: There are many sites that try (and succeed) to evoke emotions in their users to create some sort of brand loyalty. The biggest and first one that comes to mind, Apple.

Just try to watch this without tearing up a little and then wanting to buy the latest iPhone.

With notes: Medium is the best example of this. Making notes directly onto the content to give whoever reads it context. This is something I explored before Medium was released and I found the most likely place you can see examples of this, is in education. You have all probably read a book, manuscript or a university paper at some point and seen scribbled notes in the margins (I decided to explore this while studying a poem called ‘The Wasteland’). This could be applied to a series of different sites like e-commerce and travel agent sites allowing people to create notes that are stored locally for later reading, and they can be styled in a friendly and subtle way as to not detract from the main content that a user would be there for.

Lessons learnt.

Adding in small interactions to compliment an existing experience that can surprise and make a user think “oh, that’s pretty cool” (little nuances like pull to refresh), will spur them on to talk about it to their friends / families. And if people are talking positively about your product or service, then it can only lead to bigger and better things.