Sometimes what a 5 years old can teach you in a moment, can’t be learnt from the most learned folks in a lifetime.
This Diwali, I wanted to gift Guru with something nice. I was thinking maybe a mug or a painting would be nice. I was wondering what gift is most likely to make Guru happy? And then, I remembered the chit-chat conversations we often used to have about our kids. And it struck me, what if I gifted him with a toy for his kid? That was more likely to make him and his family happy! So there it was, a toy for a 5 year old.
Now, the problem was reduced to finding a perfect toy for a 5 year old kid I had never met.
Easy right? Of course not! I was back to square one. Anyways, I was running out of time and I started remembering whatever Guru had told me about that kid. Guru had told me he was very naughty and how he would make excuses to skip the school. He had told me his son was fond of playing with broken stuff. He would roam around the entire house with a broken juicer mixer. He had told me how he liked to swap batteries of mobile devices. He would go to the rooftop and find whatever junk he could (old transistor, old mobile charger, wires) and would play with it. So I thought, this guy loves to play with raw electronics, then let me gift him with something raw, something that he could mess around with, something that gives him a feeling of efficacy – the ability to produce a desired or intended result. That would give him a real kick! So I started looking for it on Amazon, and voila! I found it:I ordered it within a minute, and Amazon being Amazon, delivered it the very next day. I plugged an extra wire (to connect the 2 motors in a series), tested it and packed it in a box, and gave it to Guru. He was more than delighted, and told me his son was going to be very happy! Sure enough, next day he told me that his son didn’t even let his grandfather play with it. He was super-excited. He wouldn’t turn it on for too long for the fear of draining the battery. He went to the school in a hurry so he could come back quickly and play with the toy!
After this entire episode, I began retrospecting, how was I able to make that kid happy without even meeting him? That’s because, I used my secondary knowledge to understand the deep desires of my ‘user’, and gift him the right ‘experience’ that was tailored for him. This kid had left a deep impression on me, and had taught me the real value of secondary research and empathy. More than that, he changed my definition of user experience.
A good user experience is like a perfect gift for a person (user). Unless you know the person really well, you can’t choose the perfect gift for him!
So yes, knowing and understanding your users is all it takes to win the battle of delivering an awesome user experience. Always perform a secondary research (and primary as well), understand the deep needs of you users, empathise with them and then try and come up with something that’s really useful, usable and desirable for them.