Over the years, companies and service providers have invested on improving the functionality of their solutions and platforms to near perfection and with most achieving the basics of what users require, the next biggest differentiator becomes experience. User experience appeals more to the human part of users than anything else because it comes in many different forms in day to day activities such as conversation and interaction.
It’s the same way users interact with systems – in its most basic form, it’s conversation. The best solutions out there hence invest heavily in making this conversation easy-going and pleasurable. With that in mind, three important considerations in systems design come to mind for the developer.
Reduce user effort
We live in a very busy century. Best bet is, there is so much more to do in a space of a minute today than it was a mere three years ago. That informs the thinking mind that less and less, people are willing to go through trouble if there is an easier way of doing things.
In this sense, therefore, the most practical and successful user interaction model will promote fewer words, fewer clicks, fewer step, etc. If a user is purchasing a product on an online shop for instance, they should be able to do so in three or less clicks. In the same way, if a business solution user cannot generate a financial record in a matter of seconds, then the solution becomes wholesomely demanding and instead of ‘helping’ make life easier simply adds a burden in a different way.
Cut out the unnecessary
A few years ago, trends started drastically changing owing to the introduction of new systems, interfaces, media to view information and general tastes in design aesthetics. With this change came the concept of minimalism, which can be summarised in one sentence – “Put only what is necessary”.
While design aesthetics remain critical to the overall brand of a service, more often than not, there is a tendency by many solutions, services and platforms to over-emphasize on the looks opposed to optimising the user experience by simply excluding what is going to mean very little to the customer.
What do I mean? Flying items, shifting panels, unnecessary detail and media which mean very little to the user work against providing a good user experience. Very few users will ever complain that there is too little if the service does what it’s supposed to do by standard. On the flip-side, unnecessary elements simply work overtime to making using a service a pain.
Make everything simple
Services are made up of moving parts which are utilised best when the user understands how everything else is connected. It’s what you call integrated services – not only in how things are built, but in how users understand how parts of the service are interlinked.
It’s no wonder SAP announced earlier this year, for instance, that it is shifting a great deal of its focus towards simplifying user experience. Not just in the way solutions look, but in the way the user understands how everything fits in the overall objective. Simplicity has become the better language along which usable systems are designed.
All in all user experience, or better named ‘customer experience’ comes up front in systems design. Is it part of your strategy?