Because users interact with the product more than once, these ongoing interactions have a long-term impact on future business, as well as prospective potential customers. In this blog we talk about what the User Experience (UX) means and how to make it better.
User Experience Goes Beyond Usability
What used to get all of the attention, especially in terms of a software package, is the user interface, or the UI. As an aside, you might have seen the letters GUI (pronounced GOO-EE), and this stands for graphical user interface and is the visual layout of a software. Both UI and GUI are important, but these are subsets of the User Experience.
Someone working on the User Experience is concerned with the entire process of acquiring and integrating a product, and this can include aspects of branding, design, usability, and function. This focus on the UX happens long before the product is in the user’s hands, and often occurs before any work is done to code the software or shape the raw materials of the product.
The 7 Factors That Affect User Experience
When looking at the User Experience of a product, there are seven factors that will affect the user experience. Each has its own unique ways that it can be changed and tweaked to alter the UX. The higher these different factors are ranked by customers, the better the UX will be, and the higher the likelihood that you’ll have customers advocating for your product and your brand. Let’s take a look at these seven factors.
- Is it useful?
As with most products, an important question is if the product is useful, or asked another way, does it solve a problem that people have. A knife is useful because it can cut food, open boxes, and a host of other things. Because these are common issues that most/all people have, most everyone recognizes that a knife is useful. The more people a product helps, the more useful it is. Alternatively, a product can be incredibly useful but limited in who uses it. Those who can use it find that the product is incredibly useful and saves them time, money, or both, and without it, they would have to take alternative approaches to do what this product does.
- Is it usable?
Beyond being useful, a product should also be usable. That is, the product should help people do things efficiently and effectively. If it takes nearly as much time and effort to use the product than not using the product, most people would say that it isn’t usable because it is difficult to use.
- Is it findable?
For some products, you may need to search for the “right” solution within the product. How easy is it to find the solution you need from the product. The more difficult it is to find that right solution for you in the product, the lower the User Experience will be, and customers may look to other products to provide the right solution they need.Want to know if this is the right solution? Look at all of the options you have which will make your team more effective
- Is it credible?
In a word, trust. Can you trust the product to do what it claims it will do. Not only that but can you trust that the next time you use the product that it will work just as good as the last time you used it. How easily will the product break or become obsolete.
- Is it desirable?
This is one of those intangible aspects of a product that can be conveyed in several ways. Your branding, image, identity, aesthetics, and even emotions all play into a product being desirable. The more desirable your product is, the more the User Experience will be positive, and the more you’ll have people singing the praises of your product instead of your competitor’s.
- Is it accessible?
Can anyone use your product, or are there limitations on who can use your product? When your product is accessible to those who have disabilities, such as hearing or speech, you increase the accessibility of your product, making the User Experience higher.Related: Find out all the different ways that you can communicate with your team
- Is it valuable?
The value a product has is really a sum of the previous six factors and is still essential as part of the User Experience. This is perhaps a more subjective factor than the others, but it still carries weight in the overall User Experience.
Consider the Why, What, and How of Product Use
These three aspects should also be considered in the User Experience:
The Why aspect involves the users’ motivations for adopting a product, whether they relate to a task to use the product or the values and views that users associate with the product’s ownership and use.
The What aspect focuses on the things that he product can do. Essentially, this is the functionality of the product.
Finally, the How aspect relates to the design of functionality in an accessible and aesthetically pleasing way.
These three aspects flow from the Why first, to the What, and finally to the How. You can’t make a calendar aesthetically pleasing if you don’t first have an idea of what the calendar will do.
Give Your Users the Best User Experience
User Experience is a complicated thing, as we’ve explored. It’s much more than just the interface for the customer. It’s how well that product works for the customer and the intended purpose, plus several other aspects. That’s why it’s no wonder that there are people who specialize in User Experience. These specialists help to make products that increase the User Experience in one or more of the factors that we discussed. We often encounter different products that we can immediately tell that not much attention was paid to the overall User Experience. Those items are functional and perform the intended work. But beyond that, much of the User Experience has been ignored. This might be on purpose, as a business might want to just “cash in” on a particular demand. Or they might not realize just how poor of a User Experience their product has compared to their competitors.
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