Mischief Managed: Common UX Mistakes Even Great Teams Make and How To Avoid Them
Mischief Managed: Common UX Mistakes Even Great Teams Make and How To Avoid Them
Even the best and most committed teams can make mistakes, often without being fully aware of them. Take a look here and see if there's anything you can improve.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
10 Road Signs to watch out for in your Agile journey. Download the whitepaper. Brought to you in partnership with Jile.
Different people have their own perspectives on things. This makes it pivotal to think about the experiences your users go through while using your product or application. Owing to the fact that the end product is for the users, the field of UX is breathtakingly expanding. This brings up the question, “What possibly could go wrong while making UX decisions?”
One important objective about application interfaces, whether it is a software application or a website, is the impression it creates on the user. For any software product, application, website, or a mobile app, ensuring a positive user experience is necessary for application success.
Another concerning point is that the user experience may go beyond the user interface, as the impressions may not be limited to just the visual interface, but to the whole product. For example, the way a user can search from a long list of options, or the way the software responds to the user and the way the user expects results. These, along with many other aspects, are part of UX. So UX may have to do with the product perceptions by the user as a whole!
Focusing on UX aspects requires a considerable amount of effort spent by the product development teams on getting an optimal and attractive user interface. So it is important that the right UX decisions are made by the development teams.
Critical Aspects of User Experience
In order to get a positive user experience, it is necessary to understand the criteria for good UX designs. Various aspects of UX design needs to be considered for getting the right results. Some of them are listed below:
UX is more than User Interface design: A beautiful UI can still be marred if there’s poor content, incorrect information flow, or unnecessary details. This makes it necessary to consider the wider aspects of user experience than just the user interface.
Navigation and Usability: One direct way to make a positive impact on the user is by providing good navigation and usability. For large applications, or websites with a large number of pages, it may become difficult to find the required content or data; good and intuitive navigation may circumvent the necessity of detailed help.
Listen to what users say: It is always good to listen to the customers, especially when the target of the application is the user. Regular users can provide extremely useful inputs about UX. User feedback combined with the UX efforts by the companies have always resulted in superior product experiences.
Making quick impressions early on: “First impressions are lasting impressions.” The same is applicable to any application, product or website. Users, in the beginning, are unaware of the functionality. The ease through which user interacts with the system is what strengthens the UX, and it comes up in the initial stages of using it. Therefore, the design should be simple and straightforward, underlying the UI principles along with user’s perspectives.
Remove the unnecessary and annoying features: Presenting information too early (for example, a web page showing modes of payment even before the prices are revealed), making unnecessary requests (for example, request to register even before understanding commercials), or too many pop-ups can be distracting.
Creating a Product: From a UX Perspective
Software makers intend the applications or the web pages to be used by a large number of users. This can be possible only when users are satisfied with the experience. UX strategy is often the starting point for subsequent UX-related actions. Thus, the business strategy often includes or gives rise to UX strategy.
Like the business strategy, UX strategy must define the brand positioning, guidelines, and policies related to the UX design. The approach for UX strategy is also influenced by factors affecting the business strategy such as the market, competitors, existing perception, brand name, and value proposition. The business strategy can include UX strategy or UX strategy can be evolved as a separate document. This possibly depends on how the organization is positioned on its resources and the product development methodology.
UX strategy should consider a broader view of the entire product life cycle: the way a user installs the product, completes registration, understands the navigation (intuitively or with help), skims through the content, and finally get used to it. Aspects like these can be understood from surveys about UX criteria set for various products. These customer surveys will help define guidelines for the UX strategy.
Capabilities that include the technology and the product architecture must be enabled to realize the UX strategy. The technology and the product teams, therefore, must be clear with UX goals and be ready with the required UX skills. The design and development methodologies must be oriented along UX aspects as well. The product life cycle of the software must include UX related aspects into design, development, and testing. It is advisable that the design, development, and testing teams go through numerous customer interactions to help get real-life UX orientation.
The design team could get UX focused in two ways — the original design documents do not change but the UX aspects get included as additions, or the design approach and documentation is changed entirely keeping in view the UX-related factors. The choice depends on what level the organization is assessing itself in terms of its proximity to customer expectations on the UX aspects. In general, it makes sense for any organization to move on to UX driven designs, as it may bestow multiple benefits of improved architecture, superior look, and feel, and clients may just love the products. Designs can be verified to be better using some UX related criteria.
If the architecture does the enabling and designs have clear details about UX, the development teams can easily work towards it. However, development teams can make a difference by doing this better within their own areas of development. It is of no use if a product is designed for superior UX, but falls short in development.
As a norm, what is designed is developed as an application and this is tested according to the set criteria. Like the development team, the testing team also can do its part by emphasizing more on testing based on UX aspects.
Clear classification of customer feedback and complaints about UX aspects can be received with more importance in the support teams. The comments can be fed back to the technology and development teams for them to evolve superior designs and products. Most importantly the customer must get an understanding that the organization is UX-committed.
Important UX Decisions
The UX decisions by a software product organization are best justified by clear-cut business considerations such as customer satisfaction and company bottom-lines. The decision to focus on UX at various levels must be driven by clear answers to the organizational questions:
1. "What will happen to the product without a focus on UX?" – This has to be discovered by the organization on various marketing and strategic fronts. The factors have to be weighed-in based on whether the competition is offering a superior experience; product failures (or successes) can be attributed to UX in any way (such as UI, usability, navigation, relevance or such others).
2. "What difference does better UX make to the company?" – The difference made to the company by being UX-focused may not be measured easily. Users might not explicitly pay for better UX. However, when the ecosystem is moving towards a better UX including the direct competition, this is bound to have an impact.
3. "To focus on UX or not?" – This is the most important question, to which the above questions lead to. Once focused, it is important to get the UX decisions right, right about the strategy, about the readiness, team composition, orientation, and outlook.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.