Anticipatory UX & Design during Covid
Updated: Dec 30, 2022
Covid occupies more of my brain space than I would like to admit, but hey, maybe things will be "normal" again someday?? Please??
Intrusive 'Rona thinking has encouraged this post where I wish to tackle: "what is anticipatory UX & design," how does it relate to Covid, and why does my business care?
Anticipatory UX & Design
I've already talked about what UX is, so if you're still confused please go back and read that short blog post. Design refers to many things, but for this blog I primarily mean digital marketing created by graphic design. Anticipatory UX & design is that magical yet elusive paradise-land that your brand strategist dreams of. It's solving the problem your user never had to experience, by anticipating a problem, unusual situation, or something your client/customer might want.
Could we have anticipated Covid? That's much too sticky of a topic for me to cover with my limited scientific knowledge. But can we, as brand strategists, UX & graphic designers, etc. employ anticipatory UX & design to do better business during Covid? Yes, resounding yes. In fact, I argue that businesses (looking at your restaurants, cafes, and bars) who worked quickly to adapt and anticipate are among the most successful during "these unprecedented and challenging times." An example to illustrate non-anticipatory UX in the real world: An unnamed cannabis dispensary in Illinois begins to require an online order to pick up product, (super nice and clean, an email to confirm, so far great job making this easy for me.) But when the customer arrives to said dispensary on a very cold December day, they realize that they need to wait in line, for over an hour, in a "tent" with at least 30 other people, about 1/3 of which are not wearing masks/wearing masks improperly. Safe to say, I won't be back. How could this experience have been made better? The first thing that comes to mind is a "text when you have arrived" system, pretty simple.
Why You Should Care
Because it's actually not that hard to employ anticipatory UX and design and the benefits outweigh the effort. This applies to any form of business in which you might hire a UX or graphic designer; from your local dive bar to the newest parking app. Clunky, poorly thought out, etc. is no longer tolerated when so much of our world leans towards effortlessness. Yes, sometimes you might need outside eyes to think through and consult with your business, but hey, we do that! Give your customers and clients the magic moments they deserve. Here's a tip for you to start today: sit down with your best friend and start complaining about things you hate, take notes, and sit down with a business partner/employee/possibly the same friend and see how you can make your business processes magic for your clients/customers.