You download an app. How long did it take to install? You open the app. How long did it take to load? Is it easy to navigate? Is it aesthetically pleasing? You look for their menu, their hours, their phone number. Did you find it in a matter of seconds? Was the process seamless? Easy? Efficient?
What is User experience?
The moment we install/removing to opening/closing out an application, how we feel about our interactions with an application is called user experience.
One our developers, David Fink, defines user experience as, “The experience of using a product. It’s the first impression your product makes to the various interactions users will have with a product.”
It’s important to consider how the user feels, what they want, what they think, and what they’ll remember. “As a developer, user experience is vital,” David adds, “It determines whether or not a product will retain users, what users will think about a product, and to some extent, the developers of a product. A great user experience will make users happy and keep them coming back. A poor user experience might retain some users but will likely make users unhappy to use your product, leading to product failure. The better the user experience you create as a developer, the better chance that a product will thrive and make a difference in its respective market.”
So, here’s some UX statistics we found:
If the content isn’t optimized, 79% of users will search for another website.
39% of people will stop using a website if images take too long to load.
38% of people will stop using a website if it’s unattractive.
61% of users stated that if they couldn’t find what they were looking for fast enough, they’d totally abandon the site and look for another one.
48% of users say they feel annoyed if sites are poorly optimized for mobile.
52% of users said that a bad mobile experience made them less likely to engage with a company.
83% say a seamless experience across all devices is somewhat/very important.
After reading these statistics, we can infer how important user experience is.
From a business standpoint, why invest in user experience? In essence, it’s to stand out against competitors, to build customer loyalty and ultimately to connect with your users. From a digital design perspective? To reiterate David’s point, a good user experience will make customers come back. They don’t hope, they expect a good experience and if they don’t get one, they will quickly find another similar application that will have a good user experience.
How do we approach creating the ultimate user experience?
“When incorporating UX into projects, I try to take careful consideration with each step to make sure that I’m building an optimal user experience,” David explains. “Before I write any code, I’ll often take a fair amount of time reviewing any briefs or documentation I have explaining the project, and think about how I can build the project in a way that will create a very good experience for the user. I’ll poke around those products and find points where the user experience is positive, but also points where the user experience may be lacking, and use those notes to see if I can create an even better experience with the project I’m working on.”
David explains his process further. “When I start writing code, I try to take a break every once in awhile to check the experience of the feature I’m working on, make adjustments, and just ask, ‘Okay, what can I improve on?.’”
“In my current project, I’ve had to take user experience into higher consideration than normal I’ve had to spend a great deal of time looking at features such as navigation, menu, and emailing functionalities and try to identify what the user would want from the product, as well as what will work well for the product.”
“For navigation, I completely reworked a specific feature which had blocked the user from clicking certain links in the menu. This was initially done because there were alternate options for clicking those link, but after working on the project for so long, I found myself trying to use the links in the menu to access different pages of the site and become frustrated that I couldn’t click on them. It became very clear to me that I needed to fix these issues, especially since users will expect to be able to click the links in the navigation menu. Two hours of fiddling later, I fixed the issue, and browsing the site became much easier.”
Advice for developers
David leaves a few thoughts for future developers.
“The best advice I can give to other developers about user experience is to not only actively think about UX while working on a project, but also remember that not every user is highly savvy. We, as developers, seem to overlook that some features of a project are more complex than the average user may be able to comprehend, and those complexities can negatively impact the experience for the user.”
“A good rule of thumb is to think about how your older relatives might approach features of a product. If you find any points where they might struggle, consider finding a way to simplify the experience to make it easier to use those features while keeping the same level of functionality,” Reduce the amount of effort needed by users to use the product. Make it intuitive and efficient. David explains, “Users really appreciate the feeling that they know what they’re doing, especially with technology; give them that feeling and you’ll find that users will love the products you’ve built.”