Laughter is the Best Medicine

Humor by design by Chelsey Delaney

how's everyone doing good okay great so I'm going to be talking about designing for humorous experiences and i'm a senior user experience consultant at catalyst group we're a research and design firm based in New York and these are some of the things that we do every day and we talk about every day so my talk is divided into three parts the first is what's the meaning of this the second is nice set up bro and the third is successful lol's none of these have any the labels mean nothing they don't abide by a common theme they're just things I made up as he said I was asked to do this very recently so the first we're going to talk about the two concepts of humor and UX design I know some people earlier mentioned UX design that's kind of the basis of what I'll be talking about and first we'll start with what everyone knows and what has been brought you know up today over and over again humor so there are lots of definitions for humor out there this one is my favorite because this guy is famous and so we all know him he's also famous for being very smart even after thousands of years she's not a Freud and also the definition is very nice because it doesn't glorify humor it doesn't diminish humor and the value of humor is built into it so something unexpected the truth of which is recognized so truth is the value of humor it is the perspective of the human experience that's true of the human experience and the human experience is what brings us to user experience design so this guy Don Norman he is a big design dude he coined the term user centered design so user centered design as we've all been talking about today we're you know our audiences our customers everything should be centered around them right so he came up with this definition of the user experience which is it encompasses all aspects the end users interaction with the company its services and its products but you know this is kind of an abstract definition if I were at a Christmas party in my and asked me what I do every day I would say I designed websites and apps that's about it so this is what that really means so when we put those things together we get something like this and so we get you know a wise white guy who's talking about these abstract concepts and mixing these quotes together we get designing something unexpected the truth of which is recognized within aspects of an end users interaction with the company its services in its products so basically what we're saying is we're building in humorous interactions into websites and apps and so this is more about the context of your content rather than the content itself because you can have great content but if it's not in the right context it will fail you have to set people up just like any kind of joke you have to set people up first before you make that punch line so what will it get you first it'll get you a process that's collaborative fun creative you know so on your internal team coming up with humorous design is a very fun process you'll get a product that's meaningful and engaging again product is website or application or whatever other kinds of brand platforms that you might have and then you get a genuine customer experience so this is again going back to the truth of humanity you're getting that that very essential emotional experience that we've been talking about a lot today so what exactly does that really mean in terms of the process and the product well a typical UX design process has three stages and I'm not going to go into too much depth here because it's kind of boring the first one is explore so basically this is when we're like all right here's a client they want to design something we learn who they are we learn about their users and we learn about their industry the next part is generate so that's when we start designing things we create designs we create strategies we create anything that is a result of the first step in the process and then finally we evaluate so we test everything we see what we've been doing we we measure it we see how well it's doing if it's successful and then it goes on forever until we finally get a product which never actually stops we pretty much I've been working the same project since i started my job so it's still going when you put humor in this process i really was looking forward to that little sparkle there um when you when you put humor in this process you're just inserting kind of improv and sketch comedy techniques through each stage so these have benefits to fold one is that you get a really deep understanding of not only yourself as a designer not only of the user but also the business the clients I've done improv with clients before they are so embarrassed at first and then they end up loving you forever another benefit of this aside from just getting a deeper understanding of people is also increasing the number of creative ideas you get we all know that this sort of yes and methodology that kind of helps people to come up with more and more and more ideas and eventually it just becomes a very collaborative good creative and bonding process but I want to talk more about the product because that that's really what we can offer here aside from you guys all know about improv so with the product what we do typically when we're designing is we're thinking about applying design principles so when we're designing a website or an app or anything else that has a strain of humor to it we're applying design principles and we're also applying humor principles so these are you know there are lots of different ways we can add these sort of humor and design principles and thinking about things like making it easy to use usability accessibility aesthetics anything like that that we're thinking of there are levels of design that can be applied alongside humor as long as it's all centered around the needs of your audience you know like you guys might need this soon so in this part will talk about more how to set up for that product approach so the first thing which is a given in design and also with humor is know what you want out of your product don't just use humor for the sake of using humor it's not going to work out if there's not a thought out strategy behind it and it doesn't fit in as a piece of a hole so it's not about you being funny and it's about using it when it's appropriate because it's better to use it when it's appropriate that when it's inappropriate and it will be the the risk will definitely be greater than the reward for example this I don't know if you guys remember this or I remember it pretty well one of my co-workers is from that area so I I can't imagine that anyone going to the site who wasn't already flying to toronto would have been enticed to buy a ticket to Toronto after seeing this that's just a guess so I don't think that they thought about the outcome of this another thing I don't think that they thought about the outcome of this because it means if you're just trying to get racist audience members then all you're gonna have is an audience full of racist assholes so that's not a great outcome either and this I really don't think they wanted to sell these pots like I look at this and I'm like they definitely didn't want to sell these pots guys like there's no way like they sat in a conference room and they were like you know what no we made these things but I think we're going to keep them so make sure that you use it wisely because you don't want to use it for nothing so the second is create a comic frame and this goes back to what I said about context and not just content so comic frame comes from a very academic essay by Kenneth Burke in which he says that a comic frame is sort of the structure that houses the content for example this conference is the structure for humorous content so that is one way of looking at it another is for example the onions website the onions website is the comic frame the onions content is its content so when we're talking about a comic frame this is really important because it is yielding it is the power to yield higher engagement as everyone in here knows if you're told the same joke a million times it becomes less and less and less funny so if you can imagine going to a website and seeing the same joke on the homepage every single time you visit it's going to be less and less and less engaging each time and you will never visit again I'm sure all of us have downloaded apps that we've used two or three times and then we forgot about and deleted shortly after so there are levels of comic frames so in this website the comic frame includes the web address the URL so is it Christmas com no this context tells me that if I go to this website every single day that's not Christmas this is all I'm going to see I have no I have no I have no need to visit this website because I also will know that it's Christmas because Christmas carols will be jammed down my bloody ears like they are every year I hate Christmas music sorry guys so this is just this is not it's funny but it's not engaging it's not going to make me want to come back even though it is funny content so here's a step up we go to make everything okay this button you press it and there's a little progress bar that says making everything okay and then it's done this one is a little bit has a little bit more incentive for people to come back and that's because they get to interact with the website they don't just go there and they see a word that's not this this offers them something and it also offers them emotional solace psychologically pushing buttons feels good even though we know we can push this button and everything will not be okay it will it will kind of give us a little piece of of mine when we press this button and finally so the real kind of you know this is a great example of a comic frame because it offers a context that can be used again and again and again you can come back to it each and every single time so you can put in a web address and it will generate a geocities looking website for everything originally I did a geocities version of the funny biz website but it just looked to the head to put on the slide show so the the kind of lesson here is that you know set people up for your content if you put it in a place that is not in the right context there's not a need to come back because you know that you can't update these jokes every single day i don't i don't know how many of you have you know platforms where you're updating things all the time and need to be funny all the time but that's a lot of work so set up a context can help you fill those gaps and make it more engaging so the third tip is to contrast audience expectations so that doesn't mean to not serve their expectations it means just to contrast them and that is because the contrast is the key to design humor and there's lots of different ways that you can contrast it's it's very dimensional multi-dimensional for example one thing that we here at work all the time from clients is oh my god like we have to scroll down to see that picture and we're just like dude people scroll it's not a big deal it's all a myth uh but this is funny because this was something that College Humor did in which the whole basis was that no one likes to scroll and you have to do it in order to see everything so it was a scrolling adventure so it's a contrast of behavior in this sense pets or food so this is you just glimpse at this you see that it's maybe like a human you know like a oh I'm going to donate to the animal refuge no it's it's you can either buy a seal to eat it or you can have it as a pet so you're contrasting expectations here this is a joke by the way no one's eating seals mail-order husbands so you know this is a contrast because we expect I've seen many mail-order wide web sites in my time but we expect it to be wives and here we have these you know very lovely kind of like terrible design use of design which is very common on you know mail-order websites they don't have like professional UX designers working on them I hope so we have an expectation that yes this is the design of a mail-order site but the content is the contrast in this case because we expect it to be mail-order wives this one is one of my favorites because uh it's from Kroll show but you know it's a it's a new york favorite on the subway you know the the doctors is more acne ads that have been around forever and I remember seeing this on the subway one day and looking up and just thinking it was a doctor's is more ad and then being like holy and so it was just it was such a great kind of just like moment and my day just the contrast of thinking that you're going to see something and then seeing something so much better and finally you can contrast just general expectations about what people have so this is kind of like a tender ask app in which you can just search by dick pics and said it's not a big deal actually it gets way closer to the point of very immediately so these are all different ways that that you can contrast within a design by using these kind of behaviors interactions and and using content that's either different or using other sorts of dimensions like timing sequence there are so many different things that you can do and the easiest way to think about it is to think about what is the opposite that people expect and don't necessarily do that but think about how you can leverage that opposite and finally three things that you can think of and look at once you're done to not ensure success because I'm not going to promise you anything but just make sure that it's it's good quality stuff that you've designed first of all the best design is useful if you you know if you go going back to that site that just is it Christmas com no the best the best design is always useful some of the best things I've seen out of I don't know if anyone's seen comedy hack day but it's a hackathon where you create comedic apps and websites and such and recently there was an app that came out of it called times if I in which you could immediately turn a BuzzFeed article or something like that into what looked like a new york times article so if someone was looking over your shoulder you would immediately look better so that's pretty useful it was a big hit another another way to ensure success is that it's natural so don't insert comedy in a time or in a place where you wouldn't normally see it timing is everything is everybody knows and so pick up on the human interactions that you have in your everyday life and think about when humor enters into those interactions and then imagine your website or your app or your platform as a human interaction and think about inserting it in those special places and finally humorous design is good when it's memorable you want you want it to be memorable you want to remember to come back to it and so making sure that your comic frame is on point and is dynamic and touches people in an emotional way with highlighting that human truth will make it memorable so this is the times if I app I told you about I highly recommend anyone checking this out it's very awesome also all the ads when you click on them you can see the actual pictures from the the BuzzFeed article or whatever it's pretty cool so that's all I have thank you so much you

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