Daily UX Crash Course — User Psychology: 3 of 31

Ah, finally! It’s time to discuss the mind of the user. It’s always good to start with the basics and build from there, so today we will learn about:

The 3 Whats of User Perspective


(Just starting the User Psych Crash Course? start here.)


A good design communicates 3 things:

1) What is this?

2) What is the benefit for the user?

3) What should they do next?


“What is This?”

It is always a good idea to have a title or an image (or both) that answers the question: “what is this?”

Seems pretty basic, right? But it’s amazing how many websites overlook this. Why? Because we already know. But the user doesn’t.

Is it an article? A registration form? A party for people who love lemons? A place to see goats? Your mom’s secret webcam site?

Just tell them. Directly. And use simple words. Nobody is excited when you pull out the dictionary at a party. Especially not a lemon party.


“What’s in it for me?”

This is also the “why” of user experience. What can the user gain? Why do they care?

It is better to show users what they will get, rather than tell them. You can use a video, demo, example images, free trial, sample content, testimonials… or several of those things!

The best answers to “what is it?” also tell you a little about what you get.

For example: “A global network of terrorists cooperating to destroy the infidels and share funny memes.”

That tells you what it is, and what you get.

Remember: you’re saying what’s in it for them. Not why you want them to register/buy/click. 

User motivation is 1000x more valuable than beauty or usability — for the company — but how much time do you spend talking about it at work?


“What Do I Do?”

If the user understands what it is, and they are motivated to know or see more, their next action should be obvious in your design.

It could be something small, like “what do I click now?” or “how do I register?”

It could be something bigger, like “how to get started” or “what to buy next” or “where to get more training”. 

There is always a “next” step. Sometimes there are a few possibilities. It’s up to you to figure out what the users might need, and tell them how.


Now we’re getting somewhere! Tomorrow we will look at the fourth, and final “basic” idea in this course: Psychology vs. Culture.