A very significant goal for a good customer experience is to delight one’s customers, but there are two different versions of delight and even though they are both really important, it’s good to acknowledge the difference.

There is the more emotional delight from good looking and friendly interfaces, like the Google Doogle or the animations on Android’s Material design. These are rather fast moments that make the sides of your mouth hint a smile. There is no better word for this other than delightful, but so that we don’t confuse it with the second delight, we often call it something like “the fairy dust” or “sparkle“. This sparkle doesn’t add to the functionality, or arguably even the usability to the interface, but they do make a world of difference to the experience. Happy people stay longer, concentrate more and remember your brand better. MailChip is a great example of this; I loved how they have made sending spam rather delightful.

The other delight is that of BJ Fogg’s diamond of delight. It’s not just visual or emotional, it’s about one’s exception being exceeded. This delight is experienced if a task is easier than expected or the outcome (the benefit) of doing it is more than expected.

I have redrawn his diamond of delight into something that I can understand and explain a bit better. What I love about this one is that it shows that if you just meet exception, customer’s reaction will be natural. They did what they expected, and got what they expected. No impact was made.

Diamond of delight redrawn

Both delights have to do with exceptions and surprise, but each are tackled very differently. BJ Fogg’s delight needs to be baked into the functionality of the software… into its reason for being. We need to truly understand customer’s goals and work out how to exceed them today, and tomorrow. The sparkle delight comes a little later, in the visual design, the animations and the UI. When both work together you can have a truly magical experience.