Improve your website with a ‘Vuja de’ state of mind

3 min read

Do you often have difficulties explaining to your friends and family what do you do for living? At least I did. When I had to explain my line of work and what usability really is, I had a hard time at first. But now I’ve found a nice story to tell them, that helps them grasp what I’m doing.

I help people vuja de!
Vuja what?!

Marcel Proust in seeing with new eyes

What is vuja de?

Vuja de is the opposite of deja vu. Everybody has heard of deja vu, right? Deja vu is a term coined by the French philosopher, Emile Boirac. It means ‘already seen’ in French, and it describes the feeling we have when we think we’ve already experienced a situation though it’s brand new.

In contrast to deja vu, vuja de is about seeing the same old thing in new ways. It is what happens when you feel and act as if an experience is brand-new, even if you have had it hundreds of times. A term I first encountered at Tom Kelly’s book “The Ten Faces of Innovation”. A must-read, if you are interested in  establishing a culture of innovation at your company.

Vuja de is a state of mind that has helped me throughout my studies as a Strategic Product Designer. When I had to enter a situation I’ve been in a thousand times before, but with the sense of being there for the first time. As French novelist Marcel Proust said, “The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes.” It’s about seeing with ‘fresh eyes’.

Be a tourist in your own city for a day

Just think of how different your city looks, when you’re hosting and guiding a friend from another city. Immersing into a new state of mind, and seeing your city as a tourist opens a tonne of opportunities, and places that you normally don’t visit. It’s a shame to admit, but as a Greek coming from Athens, I wait for these moments to visit for instance Parthenon and learn more about my city Athens. I stroll around like a tourist, snap pictures of forgotten narrow streets, talk to grandpas, who are having their daily backgammon session. I see my friends excited, hear their impressions about the city, and realize that after all the city is not as bad as I think. In fact it’s an electrifying city for someone who sees it with ‘fresh eyes’.

Vuja de on the web is not easy

However, I have difficulties getting into a vuja de state on the web. I used to work for My ASICS, an online running service developed by ASICS and my continuous interaction with the service had blinded me. I knew the service like the back of my hand, and I could not identify anymore where the user experience got broken. Continuous feedback from users via GetSatisfaction pinpointed some glitches and inconveniences, but it was not enough. I needed contextualized feedback from users, showing me what do they find annoying, what do they enjoy, what would they like us to improve etc. If only I knew back then what a huge benefit would have been if I had used Usabilla. It would had made my life much easier, communicating to the developers and the project leader what was working and what not.

See your website with ‘fresh eyes’

Do you want to get into a vuja de state and see your website with ‘fresh eyes’ ?
Sign up for a free Usabilla account or try out some very short cases:

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Loucas Papantoniou
Usability Analyst @ Usabilla Jack of all trades, immersing passionately and sometimes obsessively in my interests. Greek living in A'dam, missing the sun.