Are you someone whose sprints are completed by moving merely a muscle or two? Are you someone who is completely sedentary whilst being agile?

If you’ve answered in the affirmative, it’s pretty clear that your world functions on a slightly different plane. Being a part of the UX design community, the way you perceive and process things is far from regular – something that can make up a whole new blog for a whole different day. For now, we persist with the topic at hand.

Since ‘tis the most beautiful time of year, with it comes the season of social gatherings. The holiday season is upon us, and for someone whose job description states “creating beautiful, frictionless user experiences”, planning a party must come as second nature. Let’s be honest – aren’t the products you design quite similar to gatherings anyway?

So, this holiday season, let’s put your skills as a UX designer to the test in a unique way: by planning the perfect party.

Picture this – you have a venue (a discovered need), you thoroughly consider what decor and themes people would enjoy (UX research and synthesis), you then design the appropriate decor (the UI) and have people over to see how they feel about it (user testing). And you keep doing this iteratively so that people simply don’t want to leave your party (the app/website).

Now, can you come up with a reasonable explanation for not doing this IRL?

5 UX skills to help you plan the perfect party

Step 1: Survey the guests = User research

Any designer worth their salt, especially those skilled in user experience management and possessing top skills for ux designer, knows that creating a good product, or in this case, a perfect party, begins with user research.

So, who are your users in this scenario? Your co-workers, friends, family, neighbors, and others in your circle, or those outside it that you’re looking to lure in. A big part of your user research will go into understanding these potential invitees (users) and what would they deem ‘enjoyable’.

ux skills

Going about running research tests on these users will not be easy, but it does promise to be interesting. As tempting as it may seem to plan this party based on your assumptions (because you think you know your users so well, don’t you?), stop right there. Remember what they taught you in UX research 101? You art not thy user!

So off you go pushing questions on potential party themes, menus, and activities in your casual conversations with your users.

“Kim Kardashian-style ghostly white vs Melania’s red rampage. Who wins?”

“Ugly sweater contests in Christmas parties – thoughts?”

As part of your research, it is important to send out an email or text asking about dietary restrictions or preferences. If a sensible potluck party is on your mind, create a spreadsheet for people to add what they’ll be bringing.

Here’s a quick explainer on how to conduct user research successfully:

In all honesty, make sure to have frank chats with your invitees to ensure that your little soiree would be fun for everyone. User data is what makes you one invincible party planner, so use it wisely. The bottom line is to be empathetic to the needs of your guests all the way.

Step 2: Party schedule = Mapping user flows

Armed with user research details, plan your party by mapping user flows. This involves creating a timeline of events, much like the structured approach needed in UX design for a seamless user journey.

There is always a timeline of events even for the most casual of get-togethers. It goes,

  1. Arrival of guests.
  2. Chit chat + activities.
  3. Appetizers and drinks go round.
  4. Main meal is served.
  5. Some more games and conversations.
  6. Guests leave.

Now it is up to you to enhance this user flow with customizations that you have planned. You may want to mix it up with games and food, or deploy drink-based games – the floor is open to all your experiments.

Here are five stages of mapping user journeys:

  • Identify Key Touchpoints: Find crucial moments in the user journey, just like key moments in a party.
  • Ensure Smooth Transitions: Analogous to guiding guests smoothly from one party activity to another.
  • Prioritize User Goals: Focus on user goals at each stage, similar to meeting guest expectations.
  • Incorporate Feedback Loops: Essential for both user flow in UX and activity adjustment in parties.
  • Test and Validate: Test the flow with users, akin to a party schedule dry run.

Step 3: Hosting the party = Designing the product

With your guest list and plan in place, it’s time for execution, paralleling the UX design process. This stage is where your UI/UX design skills, particularly in creating an engaging interface (the party setting), come to life. Remember, there’s no such thing as a perfectly finished product or a perfect party, but iterating based on experience is key.

Here’s a tiny but mighty tip to make sure you don’t get sucked into the black hole that is “what if this fails”. Well, we’re UX practitioners, and failures are our stepping stones to success. Just like there’s no such thing as a perfectly finished product, the perfect party is a pure myth.

Consider this part as you do with prototyping in UX design parlance, where you’re trying out different features and elements to see which works best. Look at it as a prototype-test-prototype run for all future parties you’ll be throwing. This way you’re sure to gain some valuable lessons on what to and what not to do.

Step 4: Leverage AI Magic = Enhancing Design Decisions

In the world of ever-evolving UX design, AI is like the fairy godmother of creativity, opening up a treasure trove of possibilities. Imagine AI as your co-host in party planning – offering insights into guest preferences, automating mundane tasks, and even predicting trends.

It’s like having a crystal ball, but better! By harnessing AI tools, designers can create personalized experiences, much like tailoring a party that resonates uniquely with each guest. So, why not let AI sprinkle its magic on your design decisions, ensuring your party – like your UX projects – is not just perfect, but also smartly futuristic?

Step 5: After-party chitchat = User testing

Finally, gather feedback from your guests. This is akin to user testing in UX design, an invaluable source of learning and improvement. UX designers, with their deep understanding of human behavior, can make excellent party planners as well.

Without sounding too overbearing, you can ask your guests their thoughts about the gathering. User feedback is the biggest source of learning there is, and it will go a long way in helping you sharpen your skills as a party host.

Whenever you source party tips from designers, rest assured that they’ll only share stuff that comes from experience and testing. It is safe to say that with such deep insights into human behavior, UX designers make excellent party planners as well.

This guide aimed to illustrate how top skills for UX designers can be uniquely applied to party planning. Your soft skills for UX designers and technical expertise can make any gathering a memorable experience. We hope these insights help you improve your UX skills while enjoying the festive season!