Imagineering President Marty Sklar formally documented some of
Disney’s advice and direction for his team, naming them “Mickey’s 10
Commandments.” Like the best practices detailed above, Disney
applied these principles every day, and they are applicable to much of
what we do in UX:
1. Know your audience: "Don't bore people, talk down to them, or lose them by assuming that they know what you know." This is absolutely necessary in UX design—without a deep understanding of your users, you can't create a solution that solves their problems or adds value to their lives.
2. Wear your guest's shoes: "Insist that designers, staff, and your board members experience your facility as visitors as often as possible." This approach increases the empathy your design team has for your users, making the designs you create more appropriate and helpful.
3. Organize the flow of people and ideas: "Use good storytelling techniques; tell good stories, not lectures; lay out your exhibit with a clear logic." Storytelling is a vitally important skill in UX, not just when explaining your final design solution to stakeholders, but also in your designs themselves—especially if you’re trying to describe an offering to new customers.
4. Create a weenie: "Lead visitors from one area to another by creating visual magnets and giving visitors rewards for making the journey." Imagineers called these magnets “weenies”–objects that are large enough to see from a distance and interesting enough to draw their attention. Very good advice, and when designing a "stepped" process providing a 'weenie' to follow will result in lower abandon rates and increased customer satisfaction.
5. Communicate with visual literacy: "Make good use of all the non-verbal ways of communication—color, shape, form, texture." We are currently having a big debate in the UX design community about skeuomorphism (the use of real-world visual metaphors in a user experience) and this commandment aligns with the argument advocating such an approach. Skeumorphism done well helps people learn new experiences because of the visual cues that remind them of real-world metaphors reflected in the design. Of course, skeuomorphism done badly is ... well, pretty awful and unhelpful.
6. Avoid overload: "Resist the temptation to tell too much, to have too many objects; don't force people to swallow more than they can digest, try to stimulate and provide guidance to those who want more." Cognitive overload is one of the major issues that can occur when a UI is "overdesigned" with too many options. This commandment is great advice to avoid that type of situation.
7. Tell one story at a time: "If you have a lot of information, divide it into distinct, logical, organized stories; people can absorb and retain information more clearly if the path to the next concept is clear and logical." This is information architecture 101, and direction like this convinces me that Disney was the world's first user experience designer.
8. Avoid contradiction: "Clear institutional identity helps give you the competitive edge. [The] public needs to know who you are and what differentiates you from other institutions they may have seen." Disney thought about branding before most people even knew what the term meant. When designing, don’t look at the brand as a separate thing to be applied at the end—it’s a crucial part of the total experience.
9. For every ounce of treatment, provide a ton of fun: "How do you woo people from all other temptations? Give people plenty of opportunities to enjoy themselves by emphasizing ways that let people participate in the experience and by making your environment rich and appealing to all senses." The concepts of gamification and immersive experiences are direct descendants of ideas like this.
10. Keep it up: "Never underestimate the importance of cleanliness and routine maintenance, people expect to get a good show every time, people will comment more on broken and dirty stuff." This is less applicable to UX design, but an absolute golden rule when it comes to process and service design. Always do your best, follow your process and deliver quality.
May 9, 2016 - Comments Off on Walt Disney: The World’s First UX Designer
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