Designing for delight begins with a balance of small pleasures and consideration. People want feel as if they are being paid attention to and that their needs were anticipated. One of the ways to spark this feeling, is making them feel as if they are interacting with a real person. Using an authentic, humourous or even flawed voice can create a small moment of connection, resulting in pleasure.
Beyond the basic expectation that a website should be easy to use, people tend to enjoy things that are pleasing to look at, read, and touch.
When measuring pleasure, one of the most important checkboxes to check off should be ‘user smiled’.
Listen to what people are saying as they interact with the website. Exclamations of “Nice!”, “Got it!” or “This is easier than I thought it would be” means you have hit the jackpot.
Facial expressions can also give an indication as to what someone is thinking. Do they have a blank stare or a frustrated frown? Or perhaps the corners of the mouths are turned upwards? If they’re smiling, then it's all good.
There’s a place for, and many advantages to, creating web designs that are pleasurable to use. They’re perceived as easier, trustworthy and more personal. However, embedding visual treats and trying to be considerate are not always enough to create the engaging experience of being in flow.
Flow, as a mental state, is often referred to as being “in the zone". During flow, people tend to experience a distorted sense of time, a lack of self-consciousness, and complete engagement in the task at hand. Developers might feel it when they’re writing code, or gamers might feel it when playing Guitar Hero III. For designers, it’s exactly the feeling we hope to promote in the people who use our websites.
True usability is invisible. Users should be able to interact with the experience without any difficulty.
Observing behavior will give the best picture of whether users are in the zone.
The way to make the complex feel painless is to design with flow in mind. By designing a website that is fluid and intuitive, you help new users get up-to-speed quickly, while reducing the chance that existing users leave your site to switch to another. It also creates users that will praise your site to others, which results in more users, increased activity, and greater awareness of your site.
Meaning comes from a feeling of belonging and contributing. People generally want to feel as if they are involved in something bigger than themselves. As a designer, help people know where they fit in and what their effect is by thinking through exactly what you want the emotional effects to be of using your design.
Companies that have a sense of meaning modeled across their business model are generally much more successful.
People ‘hunt’ for meaning behind the companies that make products. When they discover it, they soak it in and wear it proudly. When someone is passionate about a product or service, you can hear the delight they have, not just with the product, but with the deep pride they have in being a loyal customer of the company. Building a loyal fan base is the hardest of the approaches for delight, but the most long lasting.
Functionality and usability should always be the priority in providing the foundations for any interface, but the additional layers of delightful design — pleasure, flow, and meaning — that evokes a pleasing response from and connects with the audience — will always result in a more memorable experience.