Invisible Design Is The Best UX

Brendan Feeney

Interaction Designer

Have you ever stood in the dark trying to figure out which of the three light switches turn on the light in your front hall? Or burnt your toast because the toaster tray doesn’t pop up when it should? There are so many poorly designed User Experiences (UX) that we come across everyday. But what about the great UX? Why don’t they stand out as much? Is good Design by definition invisible Design?

Illustration showing a human head and an android head demonstrating how good design can be invisible design.

Poor User Experiences

Sometimes there is only a very small difference between good and bad Design. Compare the tram system in Melbourne (Australia) with that in Dublin (Ireland). Both networks have a smart-card ticketing system that customers use to tag on and tag off as they journey across each city. The only difference between the systems is where Users tag off.

In Melbourne, the card readers are positioned inside each door on the tram. The Users tag off before disembarking. In Dublin, there are typically two card readers positioned on either end of the platforms. Large queues often form when people disembark as everyone has to tag off at the same time. This crowd can also block people trying to tag on before the tram leaves the platform. This is how a small divergence across similar systems can result in very different UX.

Great User Experiences

Design is a language in its own right and good Design should be understandable for all. When you descend a set of stairs, you take for granted that each step is the same height and depth. You won’t fall out of step halfway down due to a sudden change in step Design. Intuitive and instantly recognisable, everyone knows how to use stairs to get to their desired destination.

UX designers try to see all challenges from the viewpoint of the User new to a service.  This User needs to intuitively understand how to use it. If a service solution works as intended, the User continues on without even realising that they’ve just passed a potential hurdle in their experience. The result is seamless and invisible Design.

Invisible Design = Best UX

How great Design works may seem invisible to the average User but we all notice good UX in many subtle ways. Any digital product that is easy to use, provides an enjoyable experience and responds to inputs as expected is the stuff of great UX. When a balance is established across a digital product then everything works as a single, intuitive system. This merging of functionality, interaction and interface Design comes together to create one whole experience and renders the individual parts invisible. Chances are your favourite website, app or digital game is also your favourite User Experience and you probably never thought about the Design of it.

That’s why great UX Designs are not as noticeable as bad Design. The best UX is not about striving to make your Design stand, it is focused instead on making it invisible.

At Graphic Mint we offer award-winning UX Design solutions. Contact us today so we can begin our journey together, and Design the next great product for your User.