What is UX?
You can find many materials on this so called UX. But what is UX? What should it be? It should be about providing the best user experience for your users, period. What are online materials mostly telling you? You need a UX Designer or your project going to fail! This whole thing seems to get out of hand.
When you deep dive into this area, you experience tons of posts filled with dos and don’ts. Like:
- Choose a correct domain name.
- Watch out for page loading speed.
- Do not use many plugins.
- Do not have missing design assets.
- Do not have broken links.
Well if it would be a little checklist there wouldn’t be any problem with these. But these authors write endless paragraphs. For example, “Choose a correct domain name.” - don’t you know on your own that “ichuck.com” is much better than “ichuckuserexperienceagencyITrocks.com”? Why would anyone try to explain it to you in a long paragraph?
The more you try to figure out these the more you feel that you need a specialist.
You want simple answers for your UX questions.
UX is simple, so this post.
What is User Experience, UX?
Let’s lookup in the dictionary:
(in Digital Technology) the perception and response of a person toward design elements of software or digital media while interacting with it. Abbreviation: UX.
What do we get when we interact with something? Feelings. You might realize that we are not far from marketing. I presume you heard that a good product sells itself.
From this point the post turns a bit “marketing-ish”
How does a product sell itself? What does make a product good?
It solves the user’s problem, fast. That’s it. See? I did not mention anything about the visual design. Sometimes the less is more. However, if it does not solve a problem or if it is really sloooooooow,
it won’t sell.
There is a rule:
The success of your product depends on the length the user need to go.
In other words:
It depends on how much time is it take to get results.
For example, let’s look at Google translate. What does the user expect from the App? Let’s say he would like to interpret a word. He puts the wanted word into the left box. Simultaneously the right box shows him the translation.
Did it solve a problem? Hell, it did!
Was it intuitive? Yes. Like with the dictionaries the wanted word is the first (on the left) then follows the foreign word.
Was it easy to use? Did it take reasonable time to get the result? Yes. It immediately gave him the vocable upon typing without clicking on a button or doing something else.
Was the design satisfying enough? Yes. It had a clean and user-friendly interface.
So this is User Experience. The experience your user has while using your product.
The question is, how are you going to improve their experience?
The simple fact as your product’s cornerstone
Build your product around this fact, and it will succeed:
“The success of your product depends on the length the user need to go.”
As I shown in the example, you can ask then answer these questions:
Does the product
- solve the problem as it promised?
- go that extra mile for you?
How much time/effort does it take to
- learn to use your product?
- get the results?
I will be explaining these questions one by one. Let’s get into it!
Does the product solve the problem as it promised?
Nothing is more disappointing than promising something and never holding up to that. So if you assure that your product is going to solve world hunger IT BETTER DO or DO NOT make this promise. Well yes, you are not that stupid. However, there are these small things like:
“Click here to find out your personal diet. it’s free*!” That little * means you are lying and people realize that instantly. The worst thing you can do is explaining how is your promise is not going to meet reality.
“Download this BMI Calculator. It’s free!” (BMI = Body Mass Index) No asterisk so people assume that there is no catch. The App Store shows pictures of the user interface where you just need to type in your data and it spits out the index. But after downloading the mobile application, it requires him to register. Now he needs to confirm his e-mail address. Well okay, he does this too, he really needs to find out his BMI. Now you are making it worse: Make him pay with an IN-APP Purchase to get the result! For God’s sake!
I hope you see where we are going. Some guys would go crazy after reading these lines.
I do not say to trust me, but trust yourself.
Do you want to be deceived?
If not, then why would you do it to others? Why? Because a guy said that? Because you read that somewhere?
So every time you are about to publish a statement or a promise about your product, first put yourself in the shoes’ of one of your potential customer and read that to yourself.
I think we are OK now to move to the next question.
Does the product go that extra mile for you?
In other words: Does it give the user more than the initial promise?
The more kind to your users the more likely they choose/stay with you or recommend you to their friends.
Imagine that you go to buy some bananas. You have two grocery shops relatively close to you.
- One has an old lady who always gives something extra, like some apples or oranges.
- The other one has this gloomy old pal who would just give you the bananas you wanted.
Which one would you choose?
As you can see by giving you some free stuff she is ensuring that you are choosing her over the old man. How much does it cost to her? A few cents?
There are so many ways to be better than the “other pal”.
- Giving coffee for everyone entering your office could be just as great.
- Providing free cloud backup
- 1-hour free counseling
Some years ago I applied this when I was using freelancer.com (getafreelancer.com back then).
When I bid on projects, I made sketches of the application that he wanted or even a quick prototype and sent them. I won 3 out of 5 projects, while my fellow coder friends were crying:
“It is impossible to get a job thru Freelancer
if you are not from India with 1 dollar an hour rate”
So find that extra thing that your product can give your clients. It has to be something which is not included in your “features” list.
How much time/effort does it take to learn to use your product?
How easy is it to use? Is it intuitive?
Of course it depends on the area of your product, but still, it needs to be easy to use.
There are those complicated CRM/ERP systems. The graphical user interface is confusing, ugly and a general pain in the ass. You just want to create an invoice, but you need to make four more steps before that.
You need to meet the requirements of the majority of your current and potential users.
It is not something that you need to figure out by yourself.
Always ask the users for feedback, always! Even if you are in the milk selling business, ask them! They may tell about the package, that you could make the bottleneck bigger or else.
At the end of the day, they are the ones who use your product, not the designers.
How much time does it take to get the results?
The timer should start when the user touches the product for example: opens the application.
Did the application load fast?
Did it spit out the correct data in a milisecond?
Imagine Google Translate with a 6 or more seconds response (translation) time. Ouch…
I do not want to talk too much about this. Make your code faster.
Like I told you before.
And now to the ultimate question:
Do you need an UX Designer?
I would say: You are never going to be in a need for one.
Well the reality is: It really depends on your project size and the capabilities of your coders.
It does require an ability to think with the user’s head.
Since it is an ability it can be trained and drilled.
Drill it, be a master of UX. :)