The rush in the smartphone market, united with widespread access to the internet, has radically changed the way consumers interact with software products.
Just like one would judge a car by its design, developers are primarily judged by the experiences they give with their software and how easy it is to use.
In this period of ubiquitous technology, every software product is fighting for user's attention, across all platforms, and users are infinitely spoilt for choice.
And due to the leading players in this game (WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Chrome, Swiggy), users are beset by slick product interfaces and experiences.
These experiences have been curated after years of feedback, analytics, and research to guarantee that the user gets everything intuitively, and has very little friction in completing the functionality. Over time, this has decreased the average attention span and patience of the user.
According to an analysis by Microsoft, the average consideration span of a user is now eight seconds. This is a sharp decrease from the ordinary attention span of 12 seconds in the year 2000. If the software product seems difficult to understand or takes too long to use, there is a very high chance that the user will leave to find another software product with a better and/or quicker experience.
This is exactly why attention to UX is now absolutely crucial to developers everywhere.
Understanding User Experience is essential for any developer
UX stands for User Experience Design - which in layman terms is the design of how a software product is used (rather than how it looks). The main aim is to make your software easy to understand, habitual, and quick to use. But there is only so much you can get right, to begin with.
After launching new software, a considerable portion of time is spent identifying problems, implementing solutions, measuring impact, and continuously iterating till near perfection. Different consumers could use the same software in varied ways, simultaneously having pain points that one could never even imagine.
Identifying the problems is usually much more complicated than solving them and could make a significant difference to the bottom of a developer's conversion funnel.
While making a software product user-friendly, one cannot ignore the need for aesthetic appeal. Visually stimulating interactions can cause an emotional connection for a user, trigger endorphin rushes, and enhance the overall experience value associated with your product.
Use Case Examples
A stellar model of a great UX based feature implementation is Swiggy Pop. Swiggy distinguished a market of users that want to order cheap food - quickly. A specific restaurant or special food items didn't matter as much as delivery time and price.
Swiggy Pop handles this use-case by giving a set choice of regular food items that represent a full meal, are cheap, are from nearby restaurants, and don't have a delivery charge. The fact that food items are always set, lets restaurants keep food prepared, which reduces cooking time and reduces the overall delivery time.
Additionally, the entire experience of ordering is extremely optimized, auto-populating options wherever possible, and ensuring that you could order a meal in four clicks - choose food, confirm the order (payment terms, address), Enter OTP, done. Before you know it, the food is on its way. Many People are switched from Zomato to Swiggy just because of such experiences.
Apple products suite
Another excellent example of hugely differentiating UX is the Apple suite of products. Even though Apple products are very price-heavy, their product experiences make users loyal beyond the point of the reason (with regards to price). And their ecosystem of products all links beautifully with each other, providing a seamless journey across the different devices.
A user can acknowledge phone calls on the Apple Watch or the MacBook, iCloud syncs data and apps across devices, Airdrop helps transfer files across the iPhone, iPad, and Mac with unparalleled speed and ease. You can even copy the text on one device and paste it on the other with no delay!
In conclusion, UX is not just about aesthetics and good looks; it has a lot to do with customer-centricity, ease of navigation, and complete end-to-end experience that the customer arrives on your app or website.
These factors determine whether you're going to get people knocking at your door time again and again.
Unless user experience is ingrained always into your Software Products you will always fall short of being on top of the ladder.
And now it's your turn. Go through your projects again and check your UX design.
- Is it easy to use?
- Can you understand its purpose right away?
- How does it feel?
These are just a few examples to determine if the user experience has been used correctly in your software products.
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