Looking beyond designing interfaces

Imagine yourself waking up to the chirping of birds and warm sunlight illuminating your face. What a lovely day it would be! Now, consider another case where you set an alarm on your phone and are woken up precisely at that time. In both cases, you are woken up at your desired time but was the experience same? Which one was better?

We often concentrate on improving the usability of the website, the look and feel of the website; completely oblivious to the experience we are giving the user while he tries to achieve his goal. Our energies are focused on making the website usable, but is this the only aspect User Experience Designers (UXD) should take care of? Why do we focus so much on the technology?

As UXDs, we should strive to create wonderful experiences keeping in mind the main goals of the users. It is imperative that we understand technology only acts as a facilitator throughout the process. The focus should never be on how many features we can give our users but on leaving a lasting impression on their minds and making their experience of achieving goals pleasurable and happy.

Don Norman rightly said “It’s not enough that we build products that function, that are understandable and usable, we also need to build products that bring joy and excitement, pleasure and fun, and yes, beauty to people’s lives.”

When we talk about the experience we give our users, is the screen/interface the only factor that contributes to the ‘user experience’? In case of e-commerce websites from searching for a product to using the product, at every point we (UXDs) are creating an impression on the user. Screen/interface design is just one part of the entire process. The experience doesn’t stop at the screen.

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If you have ever bought an Apple product, you will know that your experience doesn’t just end at the payment gateway. There are many users who post their “Unboxing Act” on YouTube by personal choice. Apple doesn’t ask its users to post their experiences online; users find it so special and effortless that they instantly create an emotional bond with the product.

NEST Thermostat is another product which literally shouts “NO USER INTERFACE.” The device adapts to the users patterns of temperature control eventually reducing his interactions and focusing on meeting his needs. Again, the focus while designing the product was not designing the interface, but designing the experience.

It’s time User Experience Designers realize that our users value and pay for good experiences and not just for good interfaces. Users are not feature driven. Steve Jobs puts the idea perfectly when he says “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.

It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.

Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences.

So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.”

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About Author

Techved Consulting is a Leading usability & UX design service provider.  Neha Modgil is Director of Techved Consulting India Pvt. Ltd. She began her venture in 2007. She is among the few woman entrepreneurs, who understood the upcoming demand of usability in India and took her career towards user centered projects. The company consist a brilliant team of UX professionals to provide effective UX solutions to their clients.

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