App and tech development can sometimes turn into an ego trip. Put a bunch of brilliant minds on a great idea, and they’ll continue to grow the product’s features to an unruly state. They forget that before a product can rake in the big bucks, it has to be something that consumers want to use. That means keeping things simple.
A quality user experience is at the core of any good product, yet it so often falls by the wayside as developers continue adding unnecessary bells and whistles, weighing down the product with features that no one asked for.
How do you avoid a similar fate with your tech? Keep UX at the forefront of everything you do.
Why UX Matters
Spending 80 hours developing a concept for a single feature is tough, but it’s better than going down the wrong road during development, only to have to scrap all of that work and rebuild. Doing this the wrong way can be a recipe for frustration, cutting corners, and quality degradation. Without an overall focus on UX, it won’t be long until an app becomes unusable — and enthusiasm wanes amongst users and developers.
Define your app’s core function. UX keeps all application features in focus, handling only what’s necessary. If an app handles email well enough, there’s no need to add video editing features. This is, of course, an exaggeration (I hope), but it’s important to keep software from becoming bloated. Prioritizing UX as the focus of your project ensures that every feature serves the defined purpose and goal of the project.
UX is branding, after all, and people should associate your project with a solid experience, regardless of how it fits into their overall life. Focusing development on UX saves valuable resources, creating a better product in record time.
Take Facebook, for example. It’s practically the gold standard of UX. The social media platform is constantly reiterated, inviting user input, planning, and testing to ensure a remarkable product that remains as consistent as possible.
Facebook has done a phenomenal job of positioning UX front and center. It even provides free tools to developers like Origami, ensuring meaningful interactions that build muscle memory within the user. As soon as Facebook adjusts its UX, it’s immediately in the news. You had better believe it’s a priority within the organization, just as it should be for any developer or tech entrepreneur.
3 Steps to Great UX
Have you ever used an app that had multiple methods of accomplishing the same goal? Those alternate paths exist due to a lack of communication between development teams. Cohesive UX wasn’t included in the initial plan, which created a lot of costly iterations.
In all of the best apps, users instinctively know which swipes or taps will accomplish a goal. Providing this experience to the user should be the developer’s primary objective.
Teams can deliver a solid UX by focusing on three key areas:
1. Core function: It’s important to understand the core function of any project. What specific problems are you trying to solve, and can your developers answer these questions as well as you can? Be sure everyone on your team has a functional understanding of exactly what UX is being delivered.
2. User stories: The development team should understand which user stories are being executed. These are specific user deliverables, typically one- or two-sentence summaries such as “I want to log in using Facebook.”
3. UX layout: A compelling mock-up of the project showcases the core function, branching out to all user stories. Don’t just focus on the “happy path.” Great UX gives users the ability to reset their passwords, delete their accounts, and turn off notifications, and it helps you understand your product’s role in users’ lives.
When all three of these elements flow consistently throughout the application, the UX is fully developed and ready for release. This focus on UX saves time — no more reinventing the wheel with every iteration.
Q Manning is CEO of Rocksauce Studios, which crafts custom mobile apps for all platforms. Rocksauce Studios’ goal is to create an amazing user experience that can succeed in the marketplace when coupled with powerful, eye-catching app marketing.