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The Art of Steeping in UX

October 28, 2020

The process of steeping involves allowing the dried tea leaves to open up which allows the leaves to lose their extracts in the hot water thus impacting the aroma and taste of the tea. The extracts are vitamin and mineral-rich thus caring for your health while you enjoy your cup of tea.

As India sees a new generation shifting from chai to green tea, quite certainly the pandemic has had a deep impact on our lifestyles. We have suddenly gone through a paradigm shift in our lifestyle and culture. With medicine shops running out of Vitamin C we are going through some crazy transformation. The pandemic has changed the way we interact with objects and habits. We either break old habits or spill new ones or deep dive into old ones pushing them towards addiction.

I have gotten myself addicted to green tea and that got me thinking so much. From being an occasional milk tea drinker and a voracious coffee drinker I am now the proud owner of 42 different variants of green tea from across the world. From detox tea to hibiscus cinnamon tea, from mango mint variants to lemongrass tea I am enjoying my current date phase with green tea. Green tea comes in different flavours and can be quite expensive depending on the type of leaf you opt for. Green tea has become an important part of my work-from-home life- the only thing that keeps me going through the rigorous hours (or so I think).

Since I am a UX designer I start looking at various aspects of my life including my daily behaviour from a user experience point of view. Here are some of the aspects I can resonate with my new found addiction to green tea.

Everybody and everything has a client

The problem is finding the democratic sweet spot. If I hadn’t bumped into some ‘Organic India Pomegranate Green Tea’ on Amazon I would not have been curious enough to try one (there was the proverbial ‘no looking back’ once I tried one!).

It is important to connect the right product to the right client. I make it sound too easy but this is probably the most important perspective we all lack or overlook at times. It is not just the understanding of the design aspirations but also the business in question and the vision the brand has. Understanding the user and his habit takes time and goes through many levels of testing and feedback. It is important and lies on the part of the designer to incorporate feedback mainly from unrelated and a set of probable clients/customers and process them into the experience design. From my experience, one can get a lot of feedback from people we meet in our daily lives.

In a lot of cases, we get negative feedback on our designs from people in our immediate circle. Well, we might be looking in the wrong place. This destroys our spirit and we end up taking unnecessary and completely useless detours. In a country of 1.3 Billion population it is important to break barriers and talk to people outside.

We love options

Did I say I have 42 different variants of green tea? I hate having the same tea two consecutive times. And yes people like me, crazy people, do exist. But I do have three kinds of detox tea, from different brands and at different price points. Do they vary in smell? Probably, to an extent yes. Do they vary in taste? Absolutely, 100% No. But I still enjoy the variants.

Now from a design point of view, I know UX-UI designers do not have a lot of say in the number of products a brand wants to feature. But we can still show the product more than once. This cross-linking of products increases the engagement of clients and as a UX designer, I can bring the customer to the same products from multiple different ways. The same product can be listed under different categories, which increases visibility and chances of recognition. The more the customer sees a product the more he/ she is likely to read about the product thus increasing the trust quotient about the product. This is not true for just the first-time customers but also for our dear old returning customers. Aren’t we satisfied to see our favourite product on the shelf? We end up depending on them and curating our lives based on them. This is where brands also start forming habits with their products.

A good change sounds good!

Milk tea to green tea. Honestly, before the pandemic, I did not care much about green tea. In fact, I did not even know that more than 500 variants of green tea existed let alone having tasted one. Who knew you can make amazing tea out of most flowers and leaves and they help you. The pandemic forced me to change my way of life. When the situation took away my right to leave my house at will I started looking at points of weakness and entertainment at home. Hence the 5 mins of making green tea and 5 mins of having green tea replaced the 10 mins walk I would take outside my house.

Triggers in UX-UI are a huge topic. While the impact of triggers can be debated upon, we have to recognize the importance of triggers. Triggers help people make a decision, at times almost force them to. Human beings are always looking for a change and a good trigger at the right time can affect their thought process completely. We are all looking for different options in life and we enjoy new experiences. It is up to the designer to create that experience through the right navigation and use of sustainable elements.

Smell matters

I would not have cared for my green tea if it did not smell good. Even after being aware of all the benefits of green tea I am still drawn towards the smell. This is because I enjoy the smell. My olfactory senses often lead my way to life. The smell makes me happy and keeps me at peace.

In the same way no matter how good and functional your website is, the look and feel matters. Colour, typography, style of icons and space management has a huge impact on the experience. We should not let these elements run loose. They are not a trivial but a very important aspect of a website and helps the customer to connect with the brand and the products on an emotional level. Creating a single focus point draws more views as it keeps the viewer at ease.  Visual hierarchy is the go to word today and that can only be achieved if you get married into the system of visual movements and transitions.

What does the colour red mean to you? Do you think of red as a symbol of love or that of blood? The answer to this determines whether you would be comfortable with a website that has red as the predominant colour. Designers should take the look and focus points into serious consideration while designing a website. The look also challenges you as a designer in the competition and keeps you in the game.

It takes time!

I hated my green drink the first time I had it. It tasted raw and bitter. It was like tasting a soup gone wrong. It was far away from the normal cutting chai I was used to. It had a taste like nothing else and I was intimidated by it. But with time it grows on you until you actually start enjoying it. A new website, a fresh platform and a different experience can be intimidating and people may not like it immediately. I currently HATE the new look of facebook, but I may not hate it forever, I might get used to it. New movements, patterns and habits take time to formulate so give it time before you decide to scrap it and start fresh.

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Abhrojit Boral, Assistant Professor, School of Communication Design, Unitedworld Institute of Design (UID)

Disclaimer: The opinions / views expressed in this article are solely of the author in his / her individual capacity. They do not purport to reflect the opinions and/or views of the College and/or University or its members.

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