Usability? Legibility? Common sense? Forget everything you know about UX. Here is a proper framework for designing brutalist experiences that your design peers will love.
Originated in post-World War II Europe, Brutalism in design and architecture was marked by raw, unpolished aesthetics that made it easier to inexpensively rebuild cities and venues. It can also be seen as a reaction by a younger generation to the lightness, optimism, and frivolity of some 1930s and 1940s design.
Over the last few years, we have started to see the same design trend applied to web design: harsh, stripped-down designs that have no frills, as a reaction to the cleanliness and polish of design systems.
For examples of brutalist websites, check out this fantastic gallery.
It's about time we bring this concept to our design thinking process.
Introducing: the Brutalist UX Framework™
The Brutalist UX Framework™ is a not a tool nor a template; it is a mindset for UX Designers that brings the best of the brutalist trend to the UX process.
Forget seamless experiences. The Brutalist UX Framework™ creates rough edge moments that will make your users love you. A new type of experience based on neglect, and on user affinity caused by brutality.
Check out the list below with sample deliverables that will make your design process way more brutal.
The first (and only) step is to throw elements on the screen, without worrying too much about how they work together. Who are you to define hierarchy anyway? Let each element fight for the spotlight.
Brutalist user flow
Research shows that when users land on your site, there’s only so many things they will do. Links are to be clicked; that’s as straightforward as it gets. Don’t overthink your flows.
Brutalist color palette
The secret to great brutalist UX is contrast. Make sure you also incorporate motion to help your users focus on what's really important on the screen.
The brutalist persona document aggregates all the assumptions you have about your users into a single place. It is so straightforward that you don't even need to bring it to your meetings.
Brutalist user survey
The easiest way to collect user feedback is through online surveys. You check the box of user research; your users check the box whether your design is working or not.
Brutalist user stories
Different users have different needs. Try to keep your user stories as generic as possible, to avoid going into the nitty-gritty of complex experiences.
Brutalist user testing
Collecting user feedback as early as possible is crucial to finding flaws in your users.
What the future holds
UX brutalism is a relatively new concept, and we don't expect it to last too long.
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