The User Happiness Curve

The User Happiness Curve

I recently wrote a blog post about how much compassion matters in human-centered design. The below is a follow-up to it, so I recommend reading it first. You can find it here.

Let’s look at compassionate design from a two-sided perspective. On one end there is the user facing the problem and on the other end the designer solving the problem. Each step of the design process corresponds to an emotional stage users are at, stages that ultimately drive (most of) our product decisions. 

A basic matching table then looks like this:

As a result, each stage from the user's end could be respectively broken down as per below:

  • I experience the pain from my first encounter with it to my first “successful” attempt to mitigate it
  • I try to solve my problem as long as I don't find the solution that annihilates my pain
  • I solve my problem once I've found the best solution and feel delighted

Connecting these dots, we can put in perspective how users move up from pain to delight over time, as well as how each stage of the design process fits in the user’s journey to happiness.

We can draw the User Happiness Curve.

The User Happiness Curve

The execution phase starts asymptotical to the time axis. Because building a product is continuous iterating, user happiness grows along with the multiple tests we operate in the process. The curve crosses the time axis once the product clearly matches what users need and starts delighting them.

Once users reach happiness, they can either remain delighted or progressively fall back into pain. Continuous delight happens when we keep executing on the solution, providing that that the resulting product keeps delivering value to users. Users may fall back into pain otherwise, which often leaves room for another product to disrupt our solution.

Does it reflect your users' feelings and behaviour during your design process? Please, let me know what you think.

Designing with Compassion

Designing with Compassion