User Experience is about solving problems in real people’s lives and helping people to attain their goals. UX professionals deal with users’ painpoints, investigate how to eliminate them, and design solutions for them.
Users, customers, agencies, and companies should be aware of the many important benefits of a user-centered approach to design. These benefits actually materialize only once people have used a product or service. They can extend broadly to other people and communities. The tools that people choose to use can impact many others. Thus, it is very important that experience outcomes engender positive feedback. Often, company slogans say, “We want to change the world,” but the products they create don’t reflect that idealism. The work UX professionals do and the value we contribute can help our companies to attain that goal.
The field of User Experience focuses on maximizing the user’s pleasure, satisfaction, motivation, efficiency, and productivity when using a product or service.
Eliciting Feedback on Usability
One example of the benefits UX professionals bring to a project is their ability to gather feedback that enables a product team to improve a product. When seeking feedback on the user experience of a product such as a mobile phone, a UX professional might ask:
Do you enjoy the look and feel?
Does the virtual keyboard fit your fingers and allow you to type easily, or is it too small?
Does the phone’s weight affect your ability to move freely?
Are you unconscious of any limitations of the device when fulfilling your goals, or do they intrude on your consciousness?
A UX professional might ask similar questions when seeking a user’s feedback on an application:
Can you easily navigate through the user interface?
Is there enough guidance to help you achieve your goals?
Asking these sorts of questions helps UX professionals to understand how a user experience impacts the user’s pleasure, satisfaction, motivation, and productivity when interacting with a product, system, or service.
Benefits of Usability and User Experience
As UX professionals, we design applications, systems, and devices for human users with the intention of ensuring an interactive experience that is as easy to use as possible. The role of the UX designer is to create a highly usable product by making the user’s tasks as easy as possible and smoothing the user’s transitions between tasks.
The limits of human cognition and physical interactions inform the design process. Thus, UX professionals have developed design principles and guidelines that are based on human factors. We have learned much about the psychology of user experience through usability testing and analytics. For example, we know that users don’t like waiting. If users are downloading something and it takes way too much time, this can negatively impact their productivity. When they become frustrated, they cannot concentrate on their goals, and they might lose the desire to use an application or Web site altogether.
Usability ensures that products don’t exceed the user’s mental and physical capabilities. Let’s look at some of the benefits of a user-centered approach to design.
Through user-centered design, we can gain a better understanding of the problems we need to solve. We can clearly perceive users’ painpoints and improve our design solutions.
By observing the way users interact with a product or service, we can become aware of specific behaviors that provide a different perspective on a problem. If users encounter a problem, how do they deal with it? Do not assume that users have no prior knowledge. Always try to offer a design solution that users can understand, even if it’s a complex solution.
Improving Users’ Quality of Life
There are two types of products or services that users might experience: primary, or essential, products and complementary products. Primary products derive from identified user needs, and we create them to fulfill a specific requirement. For example, we might identify a need for a mobile app that helps people to better accomplish everyday actions such as shopping for groceries or booking doctor appointments. Such apps could make these transactions simpler. Or, even better, we might discover a need for an app that connects a community to achieve a common purpose. The goal for a mobile app might simply be the pleasure of posting pictures or playing games. In contrast, complementary products, while sold separately, add value to and create demand for each other. Users use these products together to accomplish their tasks. Instead of simply maximizing the earnings of a company from a less valuable idea, we must think about how to provide a product or service that actually improves people’s lives.
A product’s or service’s sales increase when it satisfies users. If a company artificially stimulates a product’s sales through advertising, the benefit won’t last long. In contrast, increasing organic engagement rather than relying too much on advertising is always a more promising approach. You’ll be able to see the product’s future more clearly and predict the right next moves.
Companies can save money by rapidly testing product or design concepts to validate them before committing to time-consuming coding. There is no such thing as failure, as long as we learn from our mistakes. An iterative testing and design process lets you test your assumptions and ideas directly with users. Once you test, get feedback, and improve your design concepts, you can implement and release the improved product. Doing all of this before the developers start building the product saves everyone a lot of pain.
Following a user-centered approach to design provides a clear vision of what to build next. You can clearly see the users’ perspectives on a product—what presents difficulties, how to deal with problems, and what offers benefits. Thus, you can provide a clear visual representation of the product vision.
Engaging Users as Customers
Treat the user as a customer—though not in terms of revenues. Engaging with the user as a customer can be helpful to both sides. You’ll have a better understanding of the user. You’ll be better able to deal with the user’s emotions, requirements, requests, and needs and can learn everything else necessary to provide a better solution. Having a direct connection with your users guarantees better consistency between their needs and your solution, increases users’ trust, and improves a product’s longevity.
To maximize the quality of your relationships with users, you must gain credibility with them. This credibility develops over time. You have to build it. Once you’ve established credibility, you must work hard to maintain it and endeavor to increase it.
Reducing the Resource Burden
Once all of these building blocks have clearly demonstrated the benefits of usability and user experience to your company, User Experience will get all the resources it needs. Thus, your users become the primary source from which all resources flow. Your team needs to know as many details about the user as possible, so you can make greater improvements to the product and create the best product updates possible.
The better you understand users’ needs and the product you’ll create to address them, the better your basis for the estimation of your product design and development effort and costs. Your requirements are clear. You know your next move. You can see the future of your product or service three to five years from now.
It is important for your organization to be aware of all these benefits of usability and user experience. Develop this awareness to generate productive outcomes, improve people’s lives, facilitate users’ interactions, and provide ease of use.
Lindi provides UX services and solutions, helping companies create the right user-interface designs for their digital products, increasing their performance and usability, and simplifying the user experience. She creates wireframes and prototypes, tests design solutions, and assists in their implementation. Her empathy for users enables her to deliver human-centered design solutions that benefit both users and her stakeholders and clients.