4 amazing UX lessons learned from Disney

With so many digital products at our fingertips, what is it that makes one product more popular with consumers than another?

Why is one electronic reader favored over another? Why is one tablet coveted and another left to languish on the self? If two mobile phones have the same gadgets, why does one sell better than the other?

It all comes down to the crucial skill of learning to engage user creativity.

The term “user creativity” is a buzzword in any marketing and design discussion today, but it actually dates back to the 1990s when it was coined by Donald Norman, author of The Design of Everyday Things. 

By 1998, ISO’s Ergonomics of Human System Interaction: Guidance on Usability had determined that a user’s emotions, motivation and values had to be given as much attention in the design of a product as its efficiency, effectiveness and basic subjective satisfaction.

By 2009, Demetrius Madrigal and Bryan McClain, writing for UX Matters, cited The Walt Disney Company’s films and theme parks as classic examples of user creativity. By creating amazing user experiences, the Disney Company led consumers to trust their brand and know that they could expect a great experience from the firm.

How does a company that is much smaller than Disney manage to engage user creativity?

Here are four ideas that you can take from Disney and develop into your own products.

1. Make people feel good about using your device.

Give them little rewards and surprises. Remember how surprised you were the first time you were reading a book on your electronic reader and then opened it on your tablets and discovered it opened right to page you were reading? There are the things that delight and cause people to talk about your products.

2. Make sure that the people can’t break your device if they decide to get creative and explore “what happens if…”

You want to engage user creativity, so be prepared for it. Encourage them to explore your device, to try different settings and patterns and backgrounds. People want to play, and if you give them the toys to play with, they will reward you by staying with you longer.

3. Improve what already exists.

People always say that you don’t need to re-invent the wheel. Neither must you re-invent every single computer program. There’s no harm in building on what’s already out there and offering readers templates and content that they can interact with.

4. Girls (and everyone else) just want to have fun

This world needs more fun and the person who purchases your device is seeking it. Make sure you deliver high on the fun quotient. Think Disney and all the delights it offers. Allow adults to be kids again and just have fun. This will reward you with more sales.

Do you think these are ways to increase user creativity thereby, increasing customer satisfaction and sales? Share with us your opinions as well as user experiences with different products. 

Roz Bahrami
Roz Bahrami
Roz Bahrami is a blogger for SkyPrep, an online training software for companies to train employees and measure results. Roz is a regular contributor to blogs related to corporate training, L&D, and HR technology. Visit my personal blog at

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