The Importance of Being Unremarkable

Photon UX Series: Annah Lansdown, Executive Creative Director, Photon

Good UX is all about seamless, unremarkable design that requires no thought from the user. As part of Photon's UX thought leadership series, read Annah Lansdown's powerful article to understand how this concept is the key to creating truly remarkable user experiences.


I read a lot of blurbs titled 'About The Company' that try to position themselves as something unique and special. I commonly see words like 'pioneers,' ‘innovators,' 'trailblazers,' 'visionaries,' ‘inspiration,' 'innovative,' 'fearless,'' sensational,' or 'remarkable.'

This terminology has become a little cliched. And when you look at the definition of the word cliché, ‘A cliché is an element of an artistic work, saying, or idea that had become overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, even to the point of being weird or irritating, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel.’ I agree with that sentiment for most of the above. Any company, calling itself sensational, one could argue has lost the meaning of the word entirely.

While I was thinking about this recently, it dawned on me that solid UX theory is often bound by the complete opposite, that great UX is all about being totally unremarkable. Patterns should be standard, obvious... in fact, the less you think about it, and the less you have to remember it, the better it is. Good UX should be invisible, totally unremarkable. If a user makes any remark, it's often a clear sign of a bad user experience.

There are many apps out there that are widely known to have great, seamless UX. Starbucks. Uber. Airbnb. What they all have in common when a user completes their conversion moment is this: no one ever has said about Starbucks or Uber, "WOW, that transaction was so seamless!" Instead, they keep walking, driving, or watching TV (usually, they are, in fact, doing something else at the same time, I'll discuss that topic in the next post) and never comment. This, always, should be exactly what we're aiming for.

About the author
Annah manages a creative team of UX & UI designers, researchers, and video editors, delivering innovative client projects across continents. Annah has a strong tech background. She majored in Data Communications & AI for her undergraduate IT degree and began her career in development. She holds two design-centric master's degrees, the most recent one from the internationally renowned art school Central Saint Martins. She has worked with clients across industries, including M&Ms, L'Oréal, Walgreens Boots Alliance, MetLife, Olive Garden, Petco, and Neiman Marcus.
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"With so many brands and experiences out there claiming to be 'outstanding,' 'sensational,' and 'remarkable,' it's always interesting to compare that the sign of excellent UX is that it should be the complete opposite: Totally Unremarkable."

Annah Lansdown

Executive Creative Director, Photon

Annah Lansdown