A magical UXy Christmas

December 15, 2017 2:47 pm

A magical UXy Christmas

We’re in the Christmas mood here at SimpleUsability, thinking about the festive season ahead and reflecting on the year that’s gone. As good UXers we’ve been wondering what would make a great UXy type of Christmas? And what have we enjoyed and learned we can use to make sure it’s a great experience for all?

So we got to thinking about designing a magical Christmas app, an app that does everything you need for Christmas: helping us shop for the festival meal, bringing the family together, helping us cook for them, adding decorations and sparkle to our homes, and helping us keep traditions alive.

Shopping for the festive meal

The traditional centrepiece for the meal is a turkey, roasted along with potatoes, pig-in-blankets and more. When we buy the bird we want to know how fresh it is, that it’s going to taste delicious and how many it will feed around our family table. That’s a great design checklist, but one of the myths around UX is that, having that means a quick hallway test is all that is needed to ensure good UX is delivered.

But our magical app is going to do better will do more so we will test with real users and discover what their other needs are. Maybe, that they need recommendations for other foods for guests who don’t eat meat and suggestions for what to do with left overs. Turkey curry sauce anyone? Testing with real users of your website is the only way to learn this as we are reminded in the one our favourite articles from 2017.

Bringing the family together

Travel is a big part of Christmas for many of us. Whether it’s by road, rail or plane, we need to get together. Our magical app would help members of the family schedule visits, maybe including real time traffic reports, train information, weather. And for those who cannot be together it would help them do it remotely.

But in our hyper interactive world, it’s easy to forget sometimes that not everyone is familiar with or finds it as easy to use things like Skype, Facebook and Snapchat as we do. At Christmas the whole family is included, and that means Grandma and Grandpa too which reminds us of another favourite article of the year, reminding us of key things to have  in mind when designing for seniors.

Buying presents for everyone

Buying gifts can be a delight but sometimes we need inspiration to help us choose what to buy.  So our magical app might use some of the great ideas of Wicked Uncle (see above) who let you filter and browse to suit the person we are looking to buy for. It would also help us out with all the other bits we need – ensuring we have enough wrapping paper for the item, tape, bows, gift tags and more.

But as we get closer to Christmas, other things need to be considered. Have they got it in stock? Will it arrive on time? What is the total price and can I afford it? All these questions are important to ensure we get a truly helpful design on our magical app, and we discovered a great technique for this on another of our favourite articles of the year.


As UXers we often focus on getting the journey simple and easy to follow, without distracting users with shiny or flashy elements that jump off the page. Well Christmas is the exception that proves the rule. Tinsel, lights, ornaments are not only welcome but essential for a delightful experience. And our magical app will connect to your home IoT and let you control your Christmas lights like the Applights above.

Preparing the meal

On the day, our magical app would help you get that meal ready, calling on some great UX and new technologies with IoT, along with Alexa (or Google Home) to help us prepare the meal. Using a recipe skill that will maybe help us select the best recipe, read out the instructions and monitor the roasting of the turkey and timing of the sprouts! Testing the UX of these voice controlled devices might seem a little new and challenging, but we’ve been doing it for years with IVR, so I say bring it on! (Ed note: how well recipe apps work is a bit of an obsession for Lucy)

Merry UXmas to all

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our imaginary magical Christmas app and reading our favourite articles from 2017.

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Merry UXmas to all and a Happy New Year!