UX is not a new term in the digital world. It remains pretty much the core of almost every successful web and mobile application in the world. To put it simply, UX or user experience is the key factor that develops and enhances the relationship between the user and the digital world. When one talks of UX, the other factor that strikes the mind is usability which deals with the ease of use of a product. Often, many of us confuse UX with usability. However, UX stands as a universal set in which usability is just one of the predominant factors.
On a broader spectrum, UX has much more to offer than just usability. It’s important to consider all the factors contributing to user experience in order to deliver successful products in an ever-changing market. UX primarily focuses on having a greater understanding of the end users. This understanding is not limited to what the end users desire, value and consider a problem but also covers their response to features, interface simplicity, performance, colour scheme, navigation, functional simplicity, information and the list goes on.
Peter Morville, a pioneer in the UX dimension, has fairly explained user experience through 7 key factors:
1. Usable–So Easy To Use That It Does Not Require Thinking!
Usability can be understood as the simplicity of a product. A digital or web service that has good usability is much likely to have a higher number of users than its competitors. For example, users appreciate applications that provide easy and straightforward access to services and information. It helps them achieve their end objectives efficiently with a few simple clicks or touch of their finger.
Usability can also mean making the application more informative or interactive by displaying a message within a reasonable amount of time. For example, when a user shares an image on What’s App, there’s a simple progress loader showing the status of the image share. This simple trick ensures that the user is engaged through the task and does not require to do any form of thinking with respect to the status of the task.
2. Useful–An Idea Simply Needs To Satisfy The Target Audience
For a product or service to be deemed useful, it has to serve a purpose to the target audience. Only then will it be able to compete in a market comprised of meaningful and useful products/services. Hence, there must always be a viable reason or purpose that is driving the initiative.
Microsoft Excel is a good example here. It is one of the most commonly used data-processing programs and is designed to help people produce reports, perform data analysis, maintain a simple list of tasks, calculate and research. The program is seen as a useful product that serves a broad range of user needs.
3. Findable–Being Easy To Find Keeps You On The Top
In a digital market that is bursting with sellers and service providers, your application and its products and services have to be easy to find. Also, the products, services or information on an application must be strategically organized to avoid any form of confusion. If your application fails to achieve this, you will quickly lose your users to your competitors even if you are offering better value.
A good example would be the popularity of Gmail. Powered by the Google search engine features, Gmail gives you quick and easy access to all emails and contact and even offers suggestions based on your past activities. It’s no wonder that Gmail is the undisputable number one email service provider.
4. Accessible–Disability Is Not The Problem, Accessibility Is
Accessibility is about delivering an experience that can be accessed by users of a wide spectrum of abilities. It involves designing the application such that it is inclusive of users who have impaired vision, hearing loss, motor impairment, learning impairment and so on. Most developers give accessibility the least priority as they are under the assumption that people with disability make a very small part of their target audience. While this may or may not be true, there is no doubt that loss of access means loss of potential business. Also, accessibility is a moral and legal obligation that businesses have to meet. Besides, improved accessibility will not only bring in higher traffic but will also enhance the UX for enabled users. It’s a win-win situation!
5. Valuable–It’s Well Said That “Value Has A Value Only If Its Value Is Valued”
Any product, service or information offered in the market comes at a price, which can be justified only by the value delivered in retrospect. This value proposition holds remarkable position and tends to serve both to the business (in the form of returns) and to the end users ( by making their lives easy or solving their key problems). A business can be successful initially through the application but missing value is sure to hamper the sustainability in a marketplace which is highly competitive.
This factor can be explained with a simple equation: A product that costs ‘X’ dollars and solves problems worth ‘X+N’ dollars is considered more successful in comparison with a product which costs ‘X+N’ dollars and has the ability to solve problems worth ‘X-N’ dollars.
6. Credible–Longevity, Reliability, Integrity And Trust Steers The Credibility Of Every Business
Today the market is changing continuously at a fast pace giving birth to competitive and cutting-edge service providers. Such a market offers users an endless stream of providers. In this rat race, there is a high probability that inconsistency in any offering will directly result in loss of credibility. So, it’s vital to practice due diligence even after a successful launch. Lack of information, distorted images, cryptic ads, typos, application crash, navigation issues are some of the basic-level level elements which can have a negative impact resulting in a declining conversion rate of users.
7. Desirable–Good Branding Creates Aesthetics And Appeals To Our Emotions
The market offers options in abundance to users. In such a market, businesses need to take adequate steps to position their brand as highly desirable. This requires the brand to be aesthetically appealing and stand unique from the rest of the competitors. Psychological desirability, which is influenced by the aesthetics, branding, image, identity and design, is also an integral factor in determining a product’s desirability.
A good example would be Nokia and Apple smartphones. Both brands are big players in the market and they have both proven themselves to be useful, usable, credible and valuable. But iPhone is without a doubt considered much more desirable than a Nokia phone. It’s true that Nokia has a remarkable sales track record. But given a choice of a new iPhone or Nokia for free, most people will definitely choose an iPhone.
When a digital product or service encompasses these 7 factors (usable, useful, findable, accessible, valuable, credible & desirable), it is much likely to gain traction in the marketplace resulting in increased number of users and long-term sustainability. As a result, the positioning of the end product or service is sure to outnumber the user base of the competitors.