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Leo Poll

Leo Poll

PhD – President Akendi UK

The Secret to ‘Wow’ Users Through Interaction Design

Interaction design is the phase almost all UX professionals enjoy the most, as this is where they finally get to create that experience that will blow users away.

Something that will make people say; ‘Wow that works so well, why didn’t they think of this before ?’. Imagine the sense of satisfaction when your users tell you that you’ve solved a daily frustration better than anybody else.

Similarly, imagine the disappointment when they tell you that your design doesn’t work well at all? This is unfortunately what happens with quite a lot of applications, products and services. So, what is the secret to getting it right? Well, in short, to get it right, you need to:

  • Know what the user requirements are (the 5WH that were discussed in this post)
  • Know what your users are familiar with
  • Apply an iterative design and test approach

The first point was discussed here but let me elaborate on the other 2.

Know What Your Users Are Familiar With

Easy is simple to users, as every interaction is presented in a way that is expected or familiar. The more it works as expected the easier it is to use, and this applies as much to new services or industries (e.g. IoT),  as it does to existing industries. The application might be new but that means more than ever that you should understand what users are familiar with to create it. Very often you can find inspiration for those ‘familiar patterns’ in a totally different domain. For instance, if you are building a healthcare app that requires search functionality, and most of your users use Linkedin, then you should use a similar search design pattern to make it feel familiar.

Apply an Iterative UX Design and Usability Test Approach

Nobody gets it right first time. Very often companies build a complete ‘all-dancing and singing’ solution, wait for user feedback and then use that feedback to develop the next version. That is a very expensive way (and dangerous) way of doing things and totally unnecessary. Overall concepts can be tested with representative users during the development of a single product release with prototypes that are literally still on a paper drawing board. This is a great way to explore which concept works best and then test the set of details. It also ensures that you get it right on product release because you recognized you cannot get it right first time by iterating during development rather than from one release to another.

To design a ‘wow’ interaction you need to:

  • Apply your creativity where it is needed (the overall solution).
  • Borrow and steal as much as possible from other applications to optimize ease-of -use.
  • Admit you cannot get it right first time but iterate, iterate, iterate and iterate so you can get it right on the first product release
  • Start with a high level, low fidelity prototype increasing the level of detail once you have evidence that the previous prototype works
  • Leave colors out of the prototypes for as long as you can. They only serve a purpose in high fidelity prototypes. Before that, focus purely on how it works, not what it looks like.
Leo Poll

Leo Poll

PhD – President Akendi UK

Since 1996, Leo has been helping organizations provide an intentional customer experience while matching technical innovations to market needs. He uses the Akendi blog to share his thoughts about the challenges of addressing business problems from an end-user perspective and finding solutions that work for real people.


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Akendi is a human experience design firm, leveraging equal parts experience research and creative design excellence. We provide strategic insights and analysis about customer and user behaviour and combine this knowledge with inspired design. The results enable organizations to improve effectiveness, engage users and provide remarkable customer experiences to their audiences.