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From Dr. Seuss to Malcolm Gladwell: Unleashing ChatGPT’s Literary Magic on User Experience

*Disclaimer: I know that this post looks like too many words. I agree with you. That’s why I’m giving you my full permission to take off in approximately 90 seconds.


Did you know that if you ask nicely, ChatGPT can write original content or rewrite existing content in the voice of any author?


THE CHALLENGE

Take the definition of User Experience, as defined by Neilson Norman (The Definition of User Experience (UX) ) and rewrite it as Dr. Seuss.


It unfolded like this:

Me: “Can you please take the following article and rewrite it in the voice of Doctor Seuss:

The first requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother. Next comes simplicity and elegance that produce products that are a joy to own, a joy to use. True user experience goes far beyond giving customers what they say they want, or providing checklist features. In order to achieve high-quality user experience in a company’s offerings there must be a seamless merging of the services of multiple disciplines, including engineering, marketing, graphical and industrial design, and interface design.


It’s important to distinguish the total user experience from the user interface (UI), even though the UI is obviously an extremely important part of the design. As an example, consider a website with movie reviews. Even if the UI for finding a film is perfect, the UX will be poor for a user who wants information about a small independent release if the underlying database only contains movies from the major studios.


We should also distinguish UX and usability: According to the definition of usability, it is a quality attribute of the UI, covering whether the system is easy to learn, efficient to use, pleasant, and so forth. Again, this is very important, and again total user experience is an even broader concept.”



CHALLENGE ACCEPTED

ChatGPT: “Oh, the first requirement for a great experience, Is to meet the customer’s needs with ease. No fuss, no bother, just simple and neat, Products that bring joy, oh what a treat!

True user experience requires a merger, you see, Of many disciplines, in perfect harmony! Engineering, marketing, design and interface too, All working together, to make a product anew!

But remember, my friend, the UI is not all, For a great UX, every aspect must stand tall! Think of the user, every step of the way, And create an experience that will make their day!

And let’s not forget, usability and UX, They may seem the same, but don’t be perplexed, Usability is just one part of the UI, While UX is a broader concept, oh my!

So take a comprehensive approach, don’t you skimp, And create an experience that will make their hearts race and skip! Make it fun, make it delightful, make it oh so grand, And your users will stick around, like a faithful band!”

ChatGPT — psh, more like SeussGPT.



Dr. Seuss image. Credit: Courtesy Random House
Dr. Seuss image. Credit: Courtesy Random House

Yeah, remember when you didn’t know that ChatGPT could do that? Really solid right? Not bad for a few seconds of work.


*At this point, if you’re pressed for time, feel free to “hop off the call”.


THE END (OF THE SHORT VERSION)

Alright hardcore readers, let’s do this!


The “Seuss” rewrite left me hungry to see more results. My mind was racing… what about Malcolm Gladwell, Roald Dahl or J.K. Rowling?


I decided on Malcolm Gladwell as my next challenge (I’m going to limit it to just the first paragraph in an effort to be mindful of your time).


Reminder, here is the original copy: “The first requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother. Next comes simplicity and elegance that produce products that are a joy to own, a joy to use. True user experience goes far beyond giving customers what they say they want, or providing checklist features. In order to achieve high-quality user experience in a company’s offerings there must be a seamless merging of the services of multiple disciplines, including engineering, marketing, graphical and industrial design, and interface design.”


ChatGPT as Malcolm Gladwell: “The key to a truly exceptional user experience lies in meeting the exact needs of the customer without unnecessary fuss. This requires a careful balance of simplicity and elegance that results in products that bring joy and satisfaction to their users. But true user experience is more than just giving customers what they ask for or ticking off a list of features. To achieve a high-quality user experience, companies must seamlessly integrate the services of multiple disciplines, including engineering, marketing, graphic and industrial design, and interface design.”


My thoughts: Look, I’m not a writing expert- I just want to say that from the start. That said, reading the response felt like ChatGPT was taking each individual line and trying to edit it in a way that sounded more like like Malcolm instead of viewing the piece as a whole and then rewriting (I do recognize that it did the same thing above for the Dr. Seuss version as well).


Did I give it a pass? Nope, I did what every self-respecting amateur prompt engineer would do, and gave it another go, with further directions (prompts).


Me: “Can you tell me characteristics of the writing of Malcolm Gladwell?”

ChatGPT: “Certainly! Here are some characteristics commonly associated with the writing of Malcolm Gladwell:

  1. Narrative Style: Gladwell is known for his storytelling approach to nonfiction writing. He weaves together real-life anecdotes, personal narratives, and historical examples to engage readers and make complex ideas relatable.

  2. Thought-Provoking Insights: Gladwell’s writing often presents unique perspectives and challenges conventional wisdom. He delves into the nuances of social phenomena, psychology, and human behavior, offering fresh insights and questioning commonly held beliefs.

  3. Deep Research and Analysis: Gladwell’s work is grounded in extensive research and analysis. He draws from a wide range of disciplines, incorporating scientific studies, statistical data, and expert interviews to support his arguments and provide evidence for his ideas.

  4. Skillful Simplification: Gladwell excels at distilling complex concepts into easily understandable and digestible narratives. He breaks down intricate subjects, making them accessible to a broad audience and fostering a sense of intellectual curiosity.

  5. Interdisciplinary Approach: Gladwell combines insights from various fields, including psychology, sociology, economics, and history, to present a multidimensional understanding of human behavior and societal dynamics. He integrates these perspectives to offer a comprehensive view of his topics.

  6. Provocative and Counterintuitive Ideas: Gladwell’s writing often challenges preconceived notions and stimulates critical thinking. He introduces counterintuitive concepts, pushing readers to question their assumptions and explore new possibilities.

  7. Engaging and Accessible Language: Gladwell’s writing style is conversational, using straightforward language that connects with readers on a personal level. He employs vivid metaphors, analogies, and storytelling techniques to captivate and hold the reader’s attention.

  8. Blend of Journalism and Academia: Gladwell combines the rigor of academic research with the engaging style of narrative journalism. He maintains a balance between intellectual depth and readability, delivering scholarly concepts in a captivating manner.

It’s worth noting that these characteristics are generalizations and not all-encompassing. However, they provide a sense of the distinct qualities often associated with Malcolm Gladwell’s writing style.”


Me: “Can you please use those characteristics in rewriting the first paragraph of the original version I posted?”

ChatGPT: “Once upon a time, in the realm of user experiences, there existed a quest for perfection. It demanded an astute understanding of customers’ needs, free from unnecessary complications. Simplicity and elegance reigned, for the products crafted were not just possessions, but sources of pure delight. But true user experience went beyond mere fulfillment of expressed desires or checklist features. It required a seamless fusion of diverse disciplines — engineering, marketing, graphical and industrial design, and interface design — all converging harmoniously.”


Side note: Once upon a time? Really ChatGPT?


Me: “I’m sorry for not being more clear. Can you please take the original text I posted and put it the voice and tone of Malcolm Gladwell. Please use a personal story from the viewpoint of Malcolm Gladwell and use the guidance you described earlier- “He weaves together real-life anecdotes, personal narratives, and historical examples to engage readers and make complex ideas relatable.” Please ask any clarifying questions before proceeding.”


ChatGPT: “Certainly! Just to clarify, you would like me to rewrite the original text you posted in the style of Malcolm Gladwell, incorporating a personal story from the viewpoint of Malcolm Gladwell. Could you please confirm if you have a specific personal story or experience in mind that you would like me to incorporate? If not, I can create a fictional personal story that aligns with the spirit of Malcolm Gladwell’s narratives.”


Me: I don’t have a specific story in mind, please create one.

ChatGPT: “Picture this: a young Malcolm, brimming with curiosity and armed with a hunger for understanding the intricacies of human behavior.

During my early days as a budding writer, I found myself captivated by the world of design and its impact on the human psyche. It was a pivotal moment when I encountered a seemingly ordinary coffee shop nestled in the heart of a bustling city. Little did I know that this unassuming space would hold the key to unlocking the secrets of exceptional user experiences.


Stepping through the café’s doors, I was immediately enveloped by an atmosphere of warmth and comfort. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee and the gentle hum of conversation danced in the air. I observed as patrons effortlessly navigated the space, their movements guided by an intuitive layout and thoughtful design choices.


Curiosity ignited within me. What made this café so special? What was the alchemy behind its seamless blend of functionality and charm? Determined to uncover its secrets, I embarked on a quest to peel back the layers and understand the subtle nuances that made this place a haven for coffee lovers.


As I engaged in conversations with the café’s patrons and staff, I discovered the artistry behind every element. The baristas, like skilled conductors, orchestrated a symphony of flavors, crafting exquisite coffee creations that delighted the senses. The furniture and décor, carefully selected for both aesthetics and comfort, created an inviting ambiance that invited patrons to linger and savor the experience.


But it was the attention to detail that truly set this café apart. From the thoughtfully designed menu boards that guided customers through their choices to the personalized interactions between baristas and patrons, every touchpoint exuded a sense of care and dedication. The café had mastered the art of anticipating and fulfilling the unspoken needs and desires of its customers, leaving them feeling understood and valued.


As I reflected on this experience, a realization dawned upon me. Exceptional user experiences are not born out of happenstance but are the result of deliberate choices, meticulous attention, and an unwavering commitment to understanding the human psyche. This café became my muse, igniting my passion to uncover the untold stories that lay beneath the surface of seemingly ordinary encounters.


From that day forward, I embarked on a journey, much like the café, to craft narratives that resonated with readers on a profound level. I sought to unveil the hidden threads that connected design, psychology, and human behavior, weaving them into captivating stories that illuminated the profound impact of exceptional user experiences.


And so, this personal tale from the viewpoint of Malcolm Gladwell intertwines with the essence of his narratives, as we continue to explore the vast landscape of user experiences, armed with curiosity, a keen eye for detail, and a passion for unraveling the hidden stories that shape our world.”


Wow.


I honestly feel like ChatGPT crushed it. Sure, the last paragraph is a bit wonky, but the rest of it was beautifully crafted. As you can see, it took a few iterations to get there, but we did.


Wrapping this up

The interesting thing that I’ve learned about ChatGPT is that the more I experience it, the more I discover that it is like an ongoing conversation with a colleague, not a robot that takes my orders. Providing guidance was fun and nuanced as we worked together to create something that was a delight to read.


Follow up

I went back and started a new chat with the AI. This time I started with a prompt that I thought encompassed everything I learned from the first time around to see if it would give me something amazing from the start.


I won’t leave you in suspense, it did not.


The response was clunky, missed some of the prompts and very much felt like what most people think they’ll get from an AI. If any of you are interested in that result, just message me and I’ll get it to you.


So what’s the lesson? Iteration friends, iteration.


Last follow up, I promise

Since my author experiment, I’ve discovered that ChatGPT can also write in the voice and tone of genres. It was pretty cool to give the additional challenges of writing the UX definition in science fiction or fantasy. I strongly encourage you to give it a try with something you’ve written, just remember to iterate!

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