It appears that UX (User Experience) are very much in demand these days where much of the emphasis is to ensure a great customer journey or customer service. This is great and something that had been lacking within IT for many years. However, perhaps I just don’t get it but, what does that really mean?
Well, many people would say it is to get into the mind of the consumer or customer and ensure that whatever they want to do is easily achievable. If that is the case, I personally believe that is a very hard task as we all think very differently. Having been around at several organisations, I cannot help to think that many people get too focused on the smaller tasks of UX such as ensuring the buttons are the right shade of blue, etc… but I do feel that sometimes the main UX concepts or principles get lost on the way.
I don’t think that the principles of UX should be complicated, instead they should be very simple (the complex part may be to ensure the principles are enforced). So in my mind I believe there are 5 principles that should always be considered when applying good UX… I will not keep you in suspect much longer, here they are:
1. Easy to understand
A good layout and overall design should be easy to comprehend and not require much time to ‘diffuse’ it. This means using of visual (imagery, size and colours) guides and copy to ensure that things are presented concisely without the need to read volumes of text or have much clicking/tapping.
This also includes the use of foreseeing problematic areas and providing support or help when needed. Essentially the goal here is to help customers to go through the funnel, the more blocks they have the less likely they will get to the end of the funnel. No-one wants to waste their brain power on your product, especially when it comes to buying your product or service.
2. Make it clear
Being clear and transparent is what people want, ultimately. If you are selling something we all want to know what we are getting for what we are paying. No-one likes being ripped off.
In addition to that, no-one likes a shady deal or feel like it is a shady deal. For example: entering your credit card details when you have requested a free demonstration doesn’t promote clarity on what you are going to do with those details.
Basically, try to explain any terms or conditions to how you would like them explained to you. If there is a fee coming later, tell people that. When it comes to money, we don’t like surprise charges.
3. Be reliable
Building trust or confidence is not easy, it doesn’t mean just ensuring your service or product is always available when needed but it also means that there needs to be a mechanism so that if a customer wants to speak to you or raise any questions or problems, they could do so easily.
If you or your organisation makes a mistake, tell people that and fix it. Overall customers will forgive you faster and trust you more if you come to them, rather than them coming to you with an issue.
It is not uncommon for people to want to pay more for a better service, which ultimately means they want to be heard when they want to tell you something. Better yet, make it that they never want to tell you anything (unless it is good news, of course).
Having a great new control or gadget is fantastic and may be considered innovative but if no-one is familiar with it or worse yet they don’t use it then it may not be so great after all. This is particularly true or applicable for different Operating Systems, and this is particular enhanced on mobile devices.
Unfortunately probably not the easiest thing to get right but ensuring some form of testing (even something informal like letting your friend play with your product) will most likely remove most of these issues early in the development cycle.
In the competitive landscape that we live in today, we need to provide more “surprise and delight”. If ultimately you want your customers to enjoy your product or service they will need to want to use it on a daily basis, without even thinking about.
This area might be hard, much like all the above, but probably comes as the result of the others. If you can get the other 4 principles this will more likely come naturally.
So I hope I’ve shown you that UX is more than trying to guess what people want or making things look beautiful. It is about gaining trust and treating the customer well throughout the customer journey, from acquisition, retention and even retirement.
I am happy to hear your thoughts thou, so please write a comment if you have anything to add.