By Ultan O'Broin-Oracle on Nov 22, 2015
A visit to a very unusual restaurant in Berlin reveals how following familiar and established user experience (UX) design patterns makes things easy for developers and users of cloud applications alike.
Meat-eaters may like to dive right in and consume the free Oracle Cloud Applications simplified UI UX design patterns first.
That UX Homework Assignment
Just returned from Berlin. While I was there I completed a reverse UX homework assignment given to me by Oracle partner Certus Solutions Cloud Services VP Debra Lilley (@debralilley): to visit a restaurant called Dunkel.
Dunkel Unsicht-Bar and Restaurant is where you are seated, served, and eat in total darkness (Dunkel means dark in German).
To begin with, you order from a set menu, in the light. Then, your assigned server appears, asks you to put your hands on their shoulders, and to follow you downstairs into the darkness of the restaurant itself.
I entered a world that was pitch black. Really. No smartphone UIs glowing, no luminous wristwatch dials twinkled, not even the blink of an optical heart rate monitor sensor on a smartwatch could be glanced anywhere.
The server seats you, gives you a quick verbal orientation as to what is, and will be in front, of you.
All around me was the sound of other diners enjoying themselves.
Yet, I enjoyed one of the best vegetarian meals I’ve had in years.
Instagram pic of the awesome meal I had in Dunkel.
I had no problems whatsoever in finding or using the cutlery, the breadbasket, or eating any of the food served (four courses) in the total darkness. I ate as normal, at my usual pace, and when the meal was complete, I emerged into the light, again guided by the server, and without looking like I had been in a food fight.
An amazing, one of a kind, experience! I even left a tip! Try it yourself if you visit Berlin.
Lessons from the Darkness
So, what are the UX lessons from Dunkel? Why was it that I could so easily eat there, without ending up in a complete mess, screaming for help?
- Firstly, keep it simple. I didn’t have to deal with, for example, a complex floral arrangement or other decoration shoved into the middle of the table. Everything in front of me was functional or consumable.
- Secondly, the experience must be what consumers expect and be about things they are familiar with from everyday use. The layout of the cutlery (and yes, there was more than one spoon and no, I never used my hands), the positioning of the plates, even where my drink was placed, was familiar to me and as expected. They followed a pattern. No nasty surprises!
- Thirdly, if you do need to provide guidance, keep it short and about completing the task at hand, but encourage discovery. For example, my dessert was made of three parts (of crème of pomegranate, mango chili sauce, and homemade pralines) and served in one of those little swing-top glass bottles you need to flip open. But, again, no issue in consuming the lot.
Keeping things simple, familiar, providing concise task guidance and playing on a sense of discovery is an experiential approach also evident in the simplified UIs in Oracle’s Cloud Applications. The UX follows design patterns.
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Your UX Assignment's Solution
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Looking forward to my next UX homework exchange with Debra!