min read ·
March 22, 2021

How to get your customer experience from usable to joyful

Experience Design Practice Lead

Ruben Cardoso

With over 12 years of practice in product strategy and design, Ruben is passionate about people and problem solving through innovation. He is a strong and empathetic leader inspiring teams to deliver the best customer experiences.

"The best teams look beyond what users tell them or show them"

In today’s competitive product landscape, meeting customer needs should no longer be the sole goal. It’s critical to provide experiences that go beyond being just useful or usable - to make certain that brands and products are first-of-mind we must ensure that user experiences are also joyful and delightful.

Products don’t live in a vacuum 

UX designers and their teams frequently make the mistake of running projects in a bubble. They focus only on a particular product and a specific audience, assuming this to be the only user journey that will impact the user goal. 

Products don’t live in solitude, they’re often just one of many touch-points within a business. The great experience you designed for your mobile application will be overpowered by the negative perception created by your long-waiting call centre and unfriendly web-site. 

Other services and digital experiences that customers interact with in everyday life also need to be considered. Customer expectations have been hiked up by the seamless experiences provided by the likes of Apple or Amazon. Irrespective of your businesses offering, customers will still compare their interactions with your product to their interactions with products like Uber. Tech giants have raised the bar for all digital services and experiences. 

Closing the loop 

Businesses need to begin viewing experiences as an infinite loop, rather than a typical linear process - often with no defined start, and definitely no end. Give thought to what your user is doing before interacting with your product or business. Consider what they are feeling or thinking whilst interacting with your products. What are they touching, smelling, tasting, hearing, and/or seeing? What do they do after they complete a purchase or use your services?

Graphic representing multiple touch points in a user journey

Sounds more like stalking than product design. But the ideal customer experiences consider all the details and are obsessive about their customers before, during, after and then on-repeat.

The road to the experience nirvana 

Research is the foundation of any experience design led process, and the success of a product is ultimately dependent on the right research methodologies. When conducted in the right manner, these can bridge the gap between a usable and useful experience, and a significantly more enjoyable one.

Most teams can easily ensure a product’s ability to help users complete their tasks. With some usability testing and less than a handful of users, most issues can be quickly identified and fixed. 

Graphic comparing a usable and useful experience with one that brings the joyful element, like a perfect triangle

Good teams can run tests that effectively determine a product’s fit in the market, and identify clear gaps in customer needs.

The best teams look beyond what users show or tell them. They’ll think like your users and embody them, using their creative flair to formulate innovative ideas that push your business a step ahead from the rest. They’ll experiment, pay attention to the details, and figure out those moments that will make your customers smile and grin when they least expect.


We would love to bring some customer obsession to your teams

Our experience design practice can help you assess your customer experiences to become more enjoyable and holistic, complete this form and we will be in touch.

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