The lesson on user experience from the Big Bang Theory

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The lesson on user experience from the Big Bang Theory

In this article we will talk about user experience: The Big Bang Theory is one of the most popular sitcoms of the last decade. It has been running for a total of 12 seasons (2007-2019) and almost 300 episodes, providing more than enough content to find examples in the series where reality is stranger than fiction. It does not reach the level of “this was predicted on The Simpsons“, as the strange family from Springfield has been on screen for 30 years in more than 650 episodes, but there are cases worth remembering.

One of the most recent is the chemical compound that American scientists discovered thanks to Sheldon Cooper, the star of the series. However, there are other moments, perhaps not so striking, that serve as a lesson for the subject of this blog, that is, for the development of digital projects for the digital transformation of companies.

User experience: the YouTube interface

We can talk about the first episode of season seven, “The Hofstadter Insufficiency“. Leonard has gone away for three months to work on Stephen Hawkings’ scientific research ship. Penny and Sheldon are missing him and they decide to share their secrets to pass the time and stop themselves thinking about him.

  • Sheldon (S): Here’s one I thought I would take to the grave. A while back, YouTube changed its user interface from a star-based rating system to a thumbs-up based rating system. I tell people I’m okay with it, but I’m really not.
  • Penny: (P) That’s your big revelation?
  • S: Yes. Oh, I feel ten pounds lighter
  • P: Okay, you know what? I give up. I’m going to bed
  • S: Here’s something else you don’t know about me. You just hurt my feelings
  • P: What did I do?
  • S: I opened up and shared something deeply upsetting to me. And you have treated it as if it were nothing.

User experience in Big Bang Theory

Conclusion: always listen to your user

User experience is a fundamental factor in any digital project. It is defined as the set of elements relating to the interaction of the user with a website or application, from which a positive or negative perception is generated.

As we explained in the post on the 4 reasons to include UX design in a project, the user experience acts as a conveyor belt between the customer and the end user to create a comfortable, effective, intuitive and valuable product. In the example of The Big Bang Theory, Penny acts as the customer, responsible for an app or website, while Sheldon, with a negative perception of the change in the YouTube user interface, is the end user.

The attitude of Penny (customer) in this case indicates that she does not show enough interest in the reaction of Sheldon (end user), something that cannot happen in a digital project, where it is essential to measure all actions, always listen to the user and keep in mind that any change in an app or website, however small, may influence the user’s experience of the final product.