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October 28, 2015

The UX of Disneyland

Disneyland sets out to promise, “The happiest place on earth”.

And what is good UX other than happy users?

Being in an always-on UX mentality is actually really interesting (no sarcasm) while in Disneyland. Steve and I were there a couple weeks ago, along with everyone else from Utah. A friend coined ‘UEA’ to mean Utahns Entering Anaheim. This is another post in our UX Notes series. 

  • Graceful error messages. Your users want to figure things out and do the right thing. We talk to clients all the time about graceful error messages. Messages that don’t blame the user or make people feel like they are wrong or bad or in trouble. Disneyland is great at this. Instead of yelling ‘STOP!’ when they want you stand somewhere, someone will say, “Hold up right there, Princess”.
  • Easy to find help. Don’t hang your users out to dry. Give them a chance to find help via an FAQ, online chat, or a friendly support form. Make that help easy to find. In Disneyland help is always easy to find. Everyone from people working in shops to the janitors know where things are, have an extra map, and will take the time to help you.
  • Inject whimsy. This is becoming more and more important in user experience. Things are going to go wrong, there will be a lot of copy to read, you are requiring a lot of attention from you users. Don’t make it boring. Where you can, in unobtrusive ways, inject some whimsy or some levity. Any little thing you can do to bring a spark of joy to your user warms their interaction with your product. Of course Disneyland is great at this, from jokes that go just over the kids heads and make adults laugh, to little things to discover, they have whimsy nailed.

About the author

Amber Sawaya

Amber Sawaya is a UX consultant, best-selling author, and business owner. She writes about UX everywhere, leadership, efficiency, product design, and how to run design departments and small agencies.