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Does UX kill creativity?

The emphasis on user experience has highly increased in recent years. Today, every project goes through a UX process, no matter good or bad. So, to what extent does this value given to user experience and statistics affect our creativity?

Do we create user experiences as if we follow a curriculum by the book, or do we perform creative works by genuinely pushing the boundaries of our imagination?

Honestly, I think we mostly do things far from creativity. However, there is no single reason for this for sure. Users interact with various devices; businesses run unique design and software processes for each device. They don't want to bear high costs; designers don't take risks and prefer designs acceptable to everyone...The list goes on.

Many people, even designers, think users spend much time on pages such as Facebook and Google, that their usage habits are formed accordingly, and they demand a similar experience. They're not entirely wrong either. Throughout human history, people used and improved tool usage similarly.

UX research shows that users take similar actions due to habits. As a result of all the statistics collected and analyzed, the designers had to create even more similar patterns. Accordingly, we got caught in a vicious circle like a snowball effect, and we are losing our creativity.

Well then, can't we get out of this circle? Of course, we can; everything is up to us.

Creativity Before Practicality

Eliminating the misconception of putting user's wishes first is a must. The customer is not always right. Unless you offer something concrete to users, they cannot visualize anything in mind. Use your creativity first, then perform user tests so that you can shape them based on the results. Thus, you can avoid being one of the millions of similar applications. You should run after that unique local flavour.

Broaden Your Perspective

The first step is getting to know your target audience and identifying the problem. Try to look for your desired solution in different places other than what your competitors do. Focus on the nature of what users have learned over millions of years instead of the last ten years. Remember that people can't change what they know in a day. Always receive feedback. They can enlighten you in ways you never thought possible. Do not ignore what and for whom you try to find a solution. Even if you are the most creative person in the world, you may not find the right answer.

Follow the Trends, But Don't Copy Them

From time to time, different trends show up and shape the online world. Many trends such as Skeuomorphism, Flat Design, Material Design, Web 2.0, Mobile-first design, and Responsive design are long overdue. Turning your back on trends by saying that you will be creative is not smart. However, applying them precisely the same will not make you creative.

Data Don't Lie

That's true. Moreover, not only data don't lie, but they also don't tell you how to do things. Let's say you have passengers to take a particular destination. Don't you have happier customers if you choose a coast road as far as the eye can see with a magnificent view, through which you can also reach in the same duration or maybe even less, instead of offering them a highway surrounded by drylands? Instead of doing the first thing that pops up in your mind, take your time and push your limits. Think about what you can do differently and how you can be unique.

Remember that data don't lie and test what you do even if you know for sure. Fall in love but don't be blind. Always keep it in the back of your mind that you may also be wrong and can't always be right.

What kills creativity is...

UX doesn't kill creativity; that's on us. We create the same solution for each problem, such as taking the same road to go to work every day, buying the same coffee from the same coffee shop, and giving the same haircut to every customer, and yet we blame the UX.

Alternative and better methods will always exist to achieve the same result. We need to read more, try more, and fail more to have it. The more we fail, the stronger we will get, and the stronger we get, the more we will try.

Instead of calming the storms within us, we should boldly reflect them on our work and see the results.

We hope you stay creative and colourful…

Selçuk Sevindik

Head of UX

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