UX was never just about screens. If you’re designing to drive behavior then you’re doing UX. I would say it’s also about more than helping users achieve their goals. It’s also about designing an environment for intent.
These toys have been in my doctor’s office for years. I’ve always liked them but I had never touched them. Their shapes and colors always made me think of them as solid but soft, structurally sound yet playful.
I was recently in the office and a mother was letting her small son play with them. He picked one off the couch and dropped it on the wooden floor. It made a hard, sharp sound that surprised me. Just like that they were different. What I had once considered comforting and engaging became loud and disruptive. This single experience in my journey caused me to change my expectations of something I once looked forward to.
Details like this matter and must be considered when you’re creating a context for an experience. I’m still a little sad about it.