What designers can learn from the practice of finding joy | by Beth J | Jan, 2024


When you are always focused on identifying the pain points, you miss seeing the things that already work well.

black and white photo of a woman holding a glass and laughing
Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

In UX, we are obsessed with solving problems. We want to eliminate friction (in most cases), make things easy and smooth, and remove stumbling blocks for users. But what about the things that already work well?

While it’s essential to identify users’ struggles and pain points, we often neglect to focus on collecting data on the areas that bring them joy.

Recognizing Success in User Experience

In our pursuit of creating a good user experience, recognizing the already successful aspects of the design shouldn’t be ignored.

There are two attributes in UX that influence a user’s satisfaction: pragmatic and hedonic. Pragmatic attributes focus on a user’s functional and usability needs, while hedonic ones fulfill a user’s psychological needs like emotion and pleasure (Makkan et al., 2020).

Due to the quick Agile Design Process, we pay more attention to the pragmatic attributes. But, neglecting the hedonic attributes can lead to a one-sided perspective (Makkan et al., 2020). This creates a bias we all know we want to avoid in our research. Additionally, ignoring this area prevents innovation and growth.

If we keep iterating on a product with this narrow focus, we can make it work beautifully…but the question remains: Is it the right product to begin with?

The Role of Delight in UX Design

UX research has shown that positive emotions, like joy, delight, and happiness, are crucial in creating a satisfying user experience. These positive sentiments enhance the overall user experience, increase user satisfaction, and contribute to brand loyalty.

Designers can learn a lot from the practice of finding joy by incorporating these positive sentiments into the design process (Sosa-Tzec et al., 2020). In doing this, we create memorable experiences beyond fixing more minor issues.

Consider the peak–end–rule. It is a bias affecting how humans recall past events. People…


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