August 21, 2023

Written by:

Jason Brown

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Putting the X Factor into UX

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, where technology is seamlessly woven into our daily lives, the pursuit of wonder has become a North Star for designers and user experience (UX) professionals. Picture this: as users navigate through websites, apps, and various digital realms, they’re not just looking for efficiency and practicality—they crave captivating experiences that delight their senses and ignite their imagination!

Before proceeding any further on the journey of balancing UX with design it is important to acknowledge my design background and bias toward design aesthetics. With a passion for creating visually pleasing experiences, I might naturally emphasise the importance of the visual aspect in this article.

From rulebook to riffing: Best practices and interpretation

Using UX best practices is a valuable foundation for creating user-friendly experiences that resonate with our audience. These proven methods and guidelines provide a roadmap to ensure usability, accessibility, and overall user satisfaction. However, the role of interpretation should not be underestimated in the design process. As designers, we bring our unique perspectives, creativity, and intuition to the table, and sometimes this intuition might suggest an innovative approach that challenges conventional best practices. It’s important to strike a balance between adhering to established principles and daring to push the boundaries when appropriate. When there is a deep understanding of the users’ needs, behaviours, and preferences, and the context of the project allows for experimentation, breaking the rules can lead to groundbreaking solutions that surprise and delight users.

Can too much UX hinder the pursuit of wonder?

In the world of UX design, it’s possible that too much focus on optimising every aspect for efficiency and functionality may inadvertently hinder the pursuit of wonder. While creating seamless and user-friendly experiences is essential, there is a delicate balance to be struck. Wonder often arises from the unexpected, the awe-inspiring, and the delightful surprises that captivate users’ imagination. If every interaction is over-engineered and predictable, there might be little room left for the joy of discovering something magical. Leaving space for moments of awe and delight can elevate the user experience beyond mere utility and create a lasting impression. Finding that sweet spot between smooth UX and leaving room for wonder is a delicate art, but it’s worth the effort. By infusing our designs with a touch of fascination, we can foster a sense of exploration and joy, leaving users with a sense of wonder that stays with them long after they’ve interacted with our creations.

Unshakable pillars of UX

In the realm of UX design, certain principles stand as unshakable pillars, invulnerable to neglect or interpretation; these foundational guidelines are the compass that steers us through the vast sea of design possibilities. User-centeredness reigns supreme as the paramount principle – understanding and empathising with our users is at the very core of what we do. As we embark on our design journey, we employ the adhesive power of consistency and clarity, seamlessly weaving together a cohesive experience that enchants users at every turn. We welcome the magic of feedback and iteration, breathing life into our designs, for continuous improvement on the path to achieving design wonder.

A seamless partnership

UX and design become a seamless partnership, where UX can in fact take the lead in not only helping, but also sparking wonder in the design process. By delving into user research, analysing data, and understanding the intricacies of user behaviour, UX becomes the foundation on which design decisions are made. 

For example under the guidance of a solid UX process, pulling design references can become more than just superficial inspiration; they can become meaningful solutions that resonate with users and align with the project’s objectives. By deeply understanding the users’ needs, preferences, and pain points, UX practitioners gain valuable insights that shape the direction of design. Armed with this user-centric perspective, designers can craft purposeful and impactful designs that resonate with the audience on a deeper level and explore new ways to evoke wonder and fascination. 

Final thoughts

In the quest to balance UX with design aesthetics, we’ve explored a vibrant world where wonder takes centre stage. In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, users yearn for experiences that not only meet their practical needs but also captivate their senses and ignite their imagination. Throughout this journey, we’ve acknowledged the importance of design aesthetics and the unique perspective it brings to the table.

We’ve discovered that while adhering to UX best practices provides a solid foundation, allowing room for interpretation and creative exploration can lead to groundbreaking solutions that surprise and delight users. The pursuit of wonder has taught us that too much focus on efficiency alone might inadvertently stifle the magic of unexpected and delightful moments.

In conclusion, as we embark on future design endeavours, let’s keep the magic alive, infusing our creations with fascination and joy. By continuously exploring new avenues to evoke awe, we ensure that our designs leave users with a lasting sense of marvel, making their experience a truly captivating one.


Jason Brown, UI/UX designer at Wonderful Creative Agency