amrita UX: Can’t Do and Won’t Do Without It

User Experience (UX) has over time become a can’t-live-without component of modern software/ app development. Its growth can partially be attributed to complexity.

When trying to bring a new application to market and popularize it – being able to distil a complex set of functions down into simple parts; to organize, categorize and clearly communicate those functions to the end user – makes for an attractive and enriching experience.

We’ve come to realize that the mobility, ubiquity and socialized nature of many technologies today has changed the definition of what UX means. A shift has occurred from simple usability (efficiency and effectiveness) to actually enhancing the user’s overall experience on a website, platform or application. An experience that takes into account the users feelings, motivations as well as persona and values.

Since UX is the overall experience associated with the use of the product or service, I will say that the most important thing when designing is to focus on what really matters. And in most cases if not all, what really matters is making users happy with your product as quickly as you can, i.e. giving users that instant satisfaction from using the product in the first few minutes; and then helping them along as much as you can after that.

You can build stellar products and provide much marketability to your offering by focusing on UX in creative ways – to help engage the consumer quickly. It will also allow you to go the distance by actually influencing the behavior and expectations of the user.

A good case-in-point is Mint that recently sold to Intuit for $170 million. Mint focused on making the user do almost no work, by automatically editing and categorizing their data, reducing the number of fields in their signup form and giving them immediate gratification, as soon as they possibly could. Their competitor Wesabe however shut down in July 2010. Not because they didn’t have a fully functional awesome product of their own, but because they were trying to make things like editing data easy for the user; whereas Mint focused on making it so that the user didn’t have to do it at all.

Now, THAT is what good UX is all about.

(In my next post, I will talk about 5 specific examples of great UX. Look for it!)


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3 Responses to UX: Can’t Do and Won’t Do Without It

  1. I like your mint example about immediate gratification. I’ve been thinking about immediate gratification (on the other side of the sign-up process) for a while now. Our application currently does a pretty bad job at showing new users the value of our tool as soon as they arrive; it takes users too long to understand the features and the benefits. I came across http://www.corkboard.me today and was impressed. In my view, corkboard does a phenomenal job at providing immediate gratification to new users. While it is a simple app, it does a great job by showing new users the value of the app within 5 seconds of their first visit to the site. Not only that, they do away with the sign-up process and provide a personalized account via a customized URL the second a user checks it out. They’ve even gotten rid of a home page. Such an extreme strategy won’t work for all SaaS companies, but it is certainly food for thought. My goal for our firm’s online application now is to move as far as we can into the corkboard end of the spectrum.

    Justin

    • amrita says:

      Wow, I must check that out – thanks Justin!
      I just want to add that good UX is all about providing a superior experience to the user. And that experience is so subjective both because of the type or profile of your main users as well as dependant on what you are selling. For example, if you were a fancy hotel chain or some kind of expensive jewellery store – less clicks and easy transactions aren’t necessarily what draws the customer in. Where in cases like Mint and other productivity tools, less clicks and anything that can provide some kind of immediate gratification, definitely helps.
      You should check out Qwiki if you can. They’re in Alpha right now and provide a great mix of beautiful UX and gratification that is NOT immediate.

  2. Will says:

    Fascinating post. I’ve started reading UX Design while I’m haphazardly navigating through the design world and applying what I learn through Balsalmiq.

    Looking forward to more of your posts!

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