In this new digital age, user experience, often called UX, is fast becoming a top priority. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services even maintains a website at Usability.gov that is dedicated to publishing best practices and guidelines for the government, businesses, and students. The name of the website is a bit deceptive because user experience is more than just usability. Usability is part of UX, but the term includes a lot more. It really describes a user’s overall satisfaction with an application.
Of course, there are examples of government and private applications that did not provide a great user experience and had to be immediately fixed with the high cost of poor press, delays, and of course, wasted money. Before hiring a custom software product company, it’s important to make sure that the developers within that company understand the basics of providing a great UX, and these five basics can help you with this task.
Value and Meaningfulness
This isn’t exactly the steps you would take to do or not do in order to provide a great UX. However, it is a generally accepted first basic strategy for creating interfaces that users will actually want to use. Peter Morville, a famous writer and speaker on this topic, illustrates the most important parts of providing value with his User Experience Honeycomb. This interesting graphic quickly illustrates that a good UX must be valuable, useful, desirable, usable, searchable, accessible, and credible. He finds that this model provides a good tool for evaluating both new designs and redesigns.
Focus on the Basics of Proper User Interfaces
Microsoft is often a good source and provides quality information and many illustrations of the basic principles of designing attractive and usable interfaces. The first three tenants that they offer are concerns over spacing and positioning, sizing, and grouping. These all apply to the position of different fields on the user’s screen. The last tenant is having a user interface, or UI, that is intuitive enough so most users will be able to figure it out without having to spend a lot of time using help features or calling support.
Stick to Standards
In the old days, learning a new application usually meant learning a whole new set of symbols, menus, and terms. These days, most application users count on finding common menu items in the same place if they are using word processing software, designing graphics, or even playing a game. For example, “File” is usually the first item on the main menu. An outsourced application development company will be familiar with basic standards and expectations of users and will suggest the most standard options to create products that can compete in the market-place.
Try Not to Disrupt Users
Application developers can enhance the user experience by providing applications with the ability to use popup boxes that alert users to important events. For example, they might provide a confirmation box for important actions or provide information about errors. However, overuse of popup alerts might be annoying and distracting, therefore using them may reduce the user experience. For example, if an application automatically saves data every few seconds, an unobtrusive message that does not disrupt workflow might be better, but if you have a product or service to sell, it might be an effective tool to alert the customer of sales or options they have.
Use of the “Right” Terms is critical to Success
Using standardized terms with the target user can ward off complaints and support calls. For example, an application may ask a user to set a file path in order to save a file. This may be perfectly understandable to a technical user. For users who are not as technically inclined, it might be better to ask for a destination folder and even illustrate that with the common icons used on today’s most used digital devices. These suggestions may seem simplistic
Why is UX So Critical?
In this digital age, if your application does not produce a great user experience, it won’t matter what an application looks like or how well it performs if users find it frustrating to use. One of the smart strategies for ensuring your applications are top-notch with your customers is investing in custom application development which can improve your product’s design and create a great UX can reduce maintenance issues and trouble later.
Some sources about UX/UI