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Phwoomph, and the Art of User Experience

Phwoomph, and the Art of User Experience

I have heard it rumoured that beavering away deep in the heart of Volkswagen’s R & D department, behind a door with a sign that reads ‘QUIET PLEASE’, is a guy who’s sole responsibility is to ‘design’ and engineer the sound in a car door as it is slammed shut, for every vehicle in the VW range. His job is to make sure that instead of a jarring ‘clunk’ or a disappointing ‘thud’ you get a reassuring ‘phwoomph’ as you close the door.

It won’t make the cars faster, or help with their fuel economy but it will, on an almost subconscious level, give the driver a sense of security and reinforce the feeling that he is the owner of a quality automobile.

So when I feel compelled to explain and justify to the technical teams I work with on web projects why I make such a fuss about seemingly unimportant aesthetic details, I tell them the tale about the little man in the white coat in Volkswagen’s R & D department and hopefully it helps them understand.


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