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I’ve heard from my business partner and director of UX many times that evoking positive emotion is part of a good user experience.

Until today, I equated this mostly to a good design making me feel at home and comfortable using a software product. I thought that, much like walking around the inside of a beautifully designed building, emotion would be a secondary consequence of the thought that was put into each flow, and every curve and line.

The Four Seasons Orlando

But today I feel that good design was the primary creator of some very powerful emotion while I was using my phone, and it likely made me an iPhone customer for life.

I spent this Sunday morning with my daughter in the park. I strolled her around to check out what all the other kids were doing. We watched some hockey. We got invited to play a game of kickball (Well ok, I did. They said they had a babysitter that could watch her, but I was more interested in daddy daughter time). But most of our time was spent at the playground with some other kids. While Annalise really enjoyed sitting on the slide playing with leaves, the highlight of our day was her in a swing.

I took a live photo of it on my iPhone (basically a short video) so that I could remember and look up the moment any time I needed it. I work a lot, and miss her even more, so my phone is filled with pictures and videos I can scroll through.

But there’s not a lot of magic in having a photo or a video jammed inside a big huge list of photos and videos. It takes too many steps to get at your bundle of happiness after working 14 hrs. Until I thought to myself.. What if I set this live image as my lock screen. All I’d have to do is touch the power button on my phone to see her. The reality was even better than that.

Apple designed the lock screen to support live photos. Assigning the live photo was seamless, and almost like magic. What is so magic about assigning a photo to a lock screen? The live photo worked exactly like I had hoped without even knowing it could.

As a father, I stopped in my tracks (Literally. I was walking.) when I realized that even with the phone locked, all I have to do to see my daughter happy swinging on a swing was touch the screen. Any time I’m feeling bad, I can pick up my phone and touch the screen and I know the world is okay.

All because a user experience designer somewhere knew someone would need a video of their smiling baby at their fingertips without having to fumble about at all.

Pure joy on demand.

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