Tuesday morning 15-Aug I was doing a workout in the hotel “sculpting” room. Todd Elliot from Adaptive Path was on the elliptical trainer next to me. When he tried to get the machine to display his heart rate, across the screen scrolled the following message: “Heart not installed.”
The word “heart” came up again later that day, in conversation with Craig Duncan of the UN. (One of the folks behind ReliefWeb.) We were chatting about what word we could use to indicate the “excellent experience” aspect of an interaction. Steven Berlin Johnson called it “wit,” but folks here at the UX Week conference don’t think it’s quite the right word. (e.g. too much humor implied which might not be appropriate for, say, a health site, yet you still want that “good feeling”) Someone in the audience suggested, “the human aspect” to describe the “that’s good” experience you get from some interaction. “Heart” seems to describe it well. It has heart.
Jared Spool has also been talking about “entire experience” and “experience design.” What I’ve found myself talking about is how mental models are intended to pull you back from the artifact that you’re designing and focus instead on what the user is doing. Knowing what the user is trying to accomplish gives you more insight into how to help them in a larger context. With heart.