June 24, 2014
When Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” he was, of course, talking about user experience design.
Those who seek to improve the usability of their websites or apps would do well to consider the overall user experience of their service offering first. This is because the user experience of a product or service extends to the usability of the digital assets that enable, support, or promote it.
Simply put, user experience design (UXD) is the study and improvement of how users interact with a product or service. This covers everything from ease of use to the sheer enjoyment of the user’s overall interaction.
UXD is especially important today. Mobile devices and social media connect customers to physical or online experiences like never before. They also make our experience immediately actionable. As this integration grows, marketing and products feel more and more like a single experience.
Problems can arise from a mismatch between the product and marketing experiences. After all, an effective, easy-to-use website that promotes a clunky product will make the product look worse in comparison. It also sets an unrealistic expectation. If the product doesn’t meet that expectation, users can feel misled.
Conversely, a bad Web experience can make people suspicious of, or even sour them on even the most elegant product. You create a bad first impression before people even have a chance to try your product.
An effective way to prevent these mismatches is to start with the product UXD first. By first making sure that your product provides a delightful user experience, then extending that experience to the digital assets that enable, support, or promote it, achieving a delightful user experience is much more achievable. This will also help ensure that the experience is seamless.
Outside firms can help you with this process. Companies with UXD expertise can provide planning, testing and implementation services. Equally important is their added perspective. As outsiders, they can serve as a critical reality check.
We have all had the disappointment of purchasing something that looked good but wasn’t. You may have even blogged or socially posted about your displeasure. And if so, that negative review likely swayed others from making the same mistake. Before trying to cure a poor user experience with good usability, consider the source of your affliction – It may just save you a boatload of Benjamins.
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