What is UX design? The banana analogy

What is UX design?

People keep asking me: “Dennis, what is UX design and what makes a good UX?” So far, I’ve gone into great detail about what the ominous “user experience (UX for short)” is. This fact really bothers me. Because even a rambling explanation is a bad user experience, as I can’t explain my job clearly. Sounds frustrating, doesn’t it? – It is!

My colleague Megan Wilson (Blog: UX Motel) had a similar experience. She went in search of a simple and understandable analogy and got stuck on the banana. Megan herself recommends explaining the topic of UX to her colleagues using the banana. And I am very happy to do so.

Bananas are great fruit, but that’s not just because of the taste and the health aspect, but also because of various design aspects.


Visual signals

For example, you can tell how ripe a banana is by its color. Bananas thus clearly signal visually that they are unripe, ripe or overripe. There is no doubt or need for questions or even user tests.
Green: The banana is not yet ripe.
Yellow: The banana is ripe and can be eaten
Brown: The banana is overripe
This is absolutely foolproof!

Usable everywhere:

The next point why the UX of a banana is great: you can enjoy it anytime, anywhere. Bananas are the perfect on-the-go snack. As soon as the banana’s yellow color indicates that it is ripe, its peel is also very easy to peel. If the peel remains on the banana, you can take it with you wherever you go. The banana is therefore easy to transport. The banana can be eaten without any other utensils. It goes even further: it comes with its own grip aid and leaves no stains.

Trouble-free consumption

Eating a banana is a hassle-free experience. There is no interference from seeds, stems or hard-to-remove parts. There is no more convenient fruit! The user does not have to worry about disturbing factors. There are none.

Available everywhere

Bananas grow on all continents and are therefore available all year round. Due to the large supply, bananas are not expensive and are available to everyone.


Conclusion: What is UX design?

The banana is the perfect fruit! And this despite the fact that there are fruits that offer significant advantages over bananas. There are more beautiful fruits, but they are not as easy to consume. Or fruits that are easier to consume, like apples, but have disruptive factors in the form of seeds and stems. Strawberries are more beautiful, easier to consume, but don’t grow all year round, are more expensive and harder to transport and leave nasty strawberry stains on your clothes. Some other fruits have higher nutritional values than the banana, some other fruits look better, some other fruits taste better, but taste is ultimately only one aspect with which we encounter a fruit. UX design, on the other hand, is concerned with the entire user experience when consuming a product. From start to finish!

Similarities to software

I am very sure that you have found some similarities between the banana and good software while reading these texts. UX design deals with human-machine interaction. The aim of UX design is to make this interface as pleasant and convenient as possible. We UX designers create interfaces that are self-contained, logical and simple and function without unnecessary disruptions or breaks.
If you enjoy using an application, then the UX designer has done a good job. But if you stumble over stalks and seeds, have trouble eating or soak your T-shirt, then the perfect UX of a banana has not been achieved.