Mastering UX (User Experience Design)
The idea of user-centered design was first introduced in cognitive engineer Don Norman’s 1988 book The Design of Everyday Things, which revolutionized the way the world looked at product design. Prior to the implementation of user- centered design in programming, websites and related services were designed based on the opinions of the designers as well as the anticipated, rather than the actual, wants and needs of clients.
With nearly 2 billion Internet users worldwide, web developers and app designers find themselves tasked with providing services that satisfy clients’ needs, rather than furthering the company’s own agenda or preserving the bottom line. While client needs and desires vary greatly and are unique to each organization or individual user, there are basic principles that can be applied to any development project in order to optimize the user experience.
Whether they’re ordering a latte or buying a new car, consumers want products that deliver everything they need and nothing they don’t. Web services and software are no different. Many companies employ the use of enterprise solutions software that are tailor-made to suit the specific needs of the organization without overloading them with unnecessary features. Providing clients with customized services ensures that all of their needs will be met, and no features will go unused. With customized programs, users can also request that features be added, modified, or removed in the future to meet their evolving business needs. A business that is dressed to impress with custom solutions can’t help but be profitable, and their service providers will benefit as a result.
Rocket Scientists Need Not Apply
Nobody likes to spend hours poring over user manuals to figure out how to power on their mobile phone, for the same reason that VCRs never really seemed to stop flashing 12:00, when VCRs were still a thing. Employees dread attending workshops devoted to software migrations, and productivity suffers when workers are spending valuable time training on a new platform rather than doing their jobs. Apple has been wildly successful in the field of mobile electronics by making its products easy to use, allowing people who are less tech-savvy to keep current.
nt with technological trends. In an age where instant gratification is available in a rapidly expanding range of markets, consumers are growing shorter on attention spans and patience. An overly complicated piece of software is likely to make them throw their hands up and walk away without ever fully exploring its features. Making applications user-friendly is critical to maximizing output and not putting off the people who stand to benefit the most from it.
Leave Out the Whistles and Bells
When it comes to technology, it’s very, very tempting to dress a program up with impressive frills and features that showcase the designer’s skills, but having software that’s too dolled up often does more harm than good. Feature-heavy sites and apps often take longer to load and hog system resources, and in the case of mobile devices, can put a drain on the battery, reducing the amount of time the consumer can actually use the program. That aside, overwhelming the user with flashy graphics and a sophisticated soundtrack is going to detract from the application’s intended purpose. Furthermore, the more time and resources developers spend on the flashy accessories, the less they’ll have for the core functions of the program itself.
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of a web service or application is how users are able to access it. Most websites are configured to be compatible with a number of different search engines, and the majority of mobile applications are available both for Apple and Android devices. In addition, many developers offer features allowing users with disabilities and other challenges to customize their experience to suit their needs. Making a service accessible to users across a variety of platforms and browsers as well as those with disabilities ensures that it will reach the widest possible audience, maximizing the potential for profit.
Get it From the Horse’s Mouth
The user experience is all about making a product based on what the intended user wants, and there is no surer way to determine this than to ask what the user wants. Obtaining user feedback both during project development as well as after the product has gone live is an invaluable step in understanding what features users need and which ones aren’t working as intended. Enabling user ratings and feedback promotes a well-made product and will encourage prospective consumers to purchase and/or download it.
Navigating the waters of user experience can be a tricky proposition – no one solution is going to cater to all consumers across the board. However, by keeping a few core principles in mind, web and software developers can successfully steer their way toward providing a product that is both useful to consumers and profitable to the company it represents.