Ever wonder about the striking similarities between the dining scene and the realm of user experience (UX) design? The idea may seem unusual at first, but it’s pretty surprising how these two fields share uncanny resemblances. But first, let’s define what UX design is; it’s the process of creating meaningful, relevant, and user-friendly products. Much like dining out, our desire is to be enchanted and content with the experience; otherwise, we might as well be cooking at home. In this article, we’ll take a fearless plunge into this mouthwatering expedition, where I’ll uncover the intriguing resemblances that tie together the craft of conjuring a captivating digital journey.

Restaurants and UX design

(Image: Crafting the perfect UX bite.)

Empathy: Serving up the secret sauce

Imagine a skilled chef fully immersed in the art of uncovering what brings joy to your palate. Concurrently, UX designers engage in a comparable mental pursuit, working to understand your digital requirements. Both restaurant owners and UX designers shine in their ability to empathize with their audience and the creation of fulfilling experiences. From “Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup!” to “Why can’t I find the checkout button?” — they’ve got to understand your frustration, make necessary adjustments, and deliver delightful solutions.

Storytelling: A novel on your plate and screen

Restaurants have always excelled at storytelling. Ordering a meal can feel like opening a culinary book, with each dish telling its unique story. Now, let’s turn the page to UX designers. These digital narrators craft interactive experiences that unfold like a captivating novel. Take Airbnb’s website, for example, which takes users on a virtual journey, allowing them to explore unique homes from around the world without leaving their couch. The difference? Users are navigating through web pages instead of flipping menu pages.

Aesthetics: A symphony for the senses

Who can forget the mesmerizing sight of a beautifully plated dish? Restaurants create a visual feast with their meticulous attention to plating, lighting, and ambiance. But UX designers have the same considerations in their work. They create stunning digital landscapes using vibrant colors, tasteful fonts, and compelling visuals. Imagine the minimalist aesthetic of Apple’s website, where simplicity meets elegance. Whether it’s a culinary or digital experience, aesthetics play a key role in capturing and retaining guests’ attention.

Attention to detail: The battle of the perfectionists

When it comes to fine-tuning, chefs are known to be obsessively detail-oriented. They minutely adjust spices, fuss over garnishes, and strive for plate symmetry. Equally meticulous are UX designers who sweat over pixel alignment, smooth transitions, and intuitive interactions. Consider how a misaligned icon or a broken link can disrupt an otherwise seamless user journey. It’s a duel of perfectionism where no detail is too small or insignificant.

Feedback and iteration: An encore performance

A chef frequently receives immediate feedback from diners like, “This steak is tougher than a shoe!” or “Your pasta could double as wallpaper paste!” This spirited sharing of feedback forms a cheerful connection to moments in design that might not quite hit the bullseye, accompanied by comments such as, “I can’t seem to find the ‘Buy Now’ button, or why is my order experiencing delays?” Whether it’s within the walls of a bustling kitchen or the dynamic setting of a design studio, the invaluable interplay of feedback and refinement remains essential to the creative journey, fostering ongoing enhancements and innovative strides.


From solving problems with empathy to creating compelling stories, from meticulously perfecting the details to constantly striving for improvements, good culinary and user experiences are more alike than you’d think. So, the next time you savor a sumptuous meal or navigate a digital maze, keep these amusing analogies in mind. Not only do they reveal how creativity transcends different fields, but they also show how we can learn from these quirky similarities to deliver outstanding experiences, whether they are served on a plate or displayed on a screen.

O3 is here to help you craft your digital journeys with the same passion and precision. Get in touch with us to explore how we can elevate your user experiences to new heights

About the contributor

Alan Cho
Alan Cho
Senior UX Designer
About O3

Since 2005, our team has been pushing the boundaries of innovation with its deep understanding of the current and emerging digital ecosystem. Learn more about us, our work or innovation at O3.