I wanted to share an article I recently wrote for UX Magazine, it’s called The Flâneur Approach to User Experience Design. The idea came to me while I was on a flight from London to NYC. I’d spent almost 3 weeks wandering around London and Paris without any agenda, simply exploring, observing,
and following whatever looked interesting to me. It was one of my favorite trips ever!
Something about quieting your mind creates space for new ideas to be revealed. This all got my thinking about the UX process and how important it is to be a keen observer, yet how challenging that is in our information dense world. The idea of being like a flâneur is important to the UX process because I believe it will help you maintain a better balance of focus on people not process, recognizing and dissecting problems, and ultimately creating products that fit into people’s real lives.
The heart of what we do is creating stories. In the same way that people get lost in a good book, or lose track of time while listening to a great musical composition, they should also get lost in a great product. The experience of engaging with a well-designed product should be effortless. The best authors don’t just start writing. They spend countless hours, months, and even years developing and understanding the characters, plot, and theme that will make up their story. They are careful to leave room for random turns of events, slight moments of genius, and chance insights and observations that can reshape and change everything. As the award winning film and television writer, Robert McKee says: “We rarely know where we are going; writing is a discovery.”
In the same way that writers leave room for discovery in their process, we as user experience designers must do the same. However, these moments of discovery and chance can only happen if we have prepared minds.
You can read the full article over on UX Magazine, I’d love to hear your thoughts: The Flâneur Approach to User Experience Design