Spontaneous Web Adventure: UX Goes Off Road

After the last few months following the progress of fintech and eCommerce, I thought I’d come back to UX via the little known route of origami and vintage motorbikes.  User experience and interaction is where the rubber meets the road and how the digital landscape is formed.  Even after the scientific scrutiny of testing and data driven design, the desires of the masses can be directed by a confident well informed designer rather than only following trends via a/b test results. I’m a strong advocate that variant design testing is one of the most effective processes for quick conversion results, though I often wonder how innovation could be allowed to take risks which would pay off in the longer term.  A risk taken on the biggest data set you will ever have, your well informed designers brain, may not sound as random a punt as first considered.

I would like to assume that an increasing amount of web visitors don’t really know what they want most of the time, because there is now enough quality out there to make casual browsing enjoyable. Increasingly the web is becoming like TV, completely unplanned and with high expectations of being entertained and well informed. Website visitors just want to feel good and without effort.  Which is fair enough.  But the web is going further than TV.  The play it safe hypnotic effect of passive consumption is being challenged by experiences that can deliver personally focused emotion and interactive engagement.  In its simplest form a random click can suddenly take you to a breath taking full page gif image that gives you a few seconds of satisfaction that you though was impossible to experience outside of your social media channels.  A full page moving image might not be what you want when your looking for a specific product but it opens a door to reveal that the internet can be more than shopping and social, and you are in the driving seat to find or even create more.

Spontaneous Web Adventure (SWA) is making more of an appearance in my life these days. Using YouTube with a friend to figure out how to make origami figures had us in a few short minutes (with one of of us on the play/pause button and the other one folding) making the most intricate origami figures with ease from scratch. It got me thinking.  Beyond eCommerce, messaging, Google Maps, Social and news, I’m starting to discover that there is so much rich media online that the user experience can be more rewarding and reliable than film, TV and the traditional press combined.  This is even before considering gaming.

Paper, scissors and a friend on the play/pause button…better than an episode that Game of Thrones, trust me.


Yesterday after clearing out some drawers, I found a written account by my Grandfather of his early life. I Discovered that my Grandmother owned a motorbike called a Coventry Eagle before they were married. After a quick image search I found some photos of this model and could imagine her as a capable young woman handling what looks like quite a substantial bike.  Also, seeing for the first time the house my Grandfather was born in on Google Street View was a much more rewarding experience than getting a ‘like’ on my latest status update and just as easy to achieve.

rich media content

The sheer volume of quality front end design alone can reliably keep an imaginative surfer happy with random searches.  This has not always being the case, but I think we are entering into an age of web maturity.  Well, at least from infant to toddler.  The days of not being able to browse without stumbling upon endless spamy sites with no content are disappearing in a cloud of dust.  There has evolved a global population made up of communities of hugely talented designers who love their work beyond servicing the online staples that we rely on.  There is also an enthusiastic number of specialist interest groups who will showcase and document the obscure, and anyone with enough motivation can now express themselves to the world.

My I point I suppose is two fold: You can drive UX rather than copy what the user already does. Be brave the world needs heros, no pain no gain.  Secondly, the internet is now the number one platform for nearly everything (PFNE) and you don’t need to be a broadcast tycoon or press baron to get involved.  BTW, SWA or PFNE are not real things,  they just seemed like a good idea at the time;)

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