First impressions are everything
“You only get one chance to make a good first impression,” notes Thelton McMillian, Founder & CEO of Comrade, adding that this notion is especially true in today’s digital world.
McMillian states, “Companies must design user experiences for web and mobile that are seamless, relevant and keep customers coming back for more. However, in the race to design smart capabilities, many businesses commit one or more ‘deadly sins’ – damaging that crucial first impression compromising future growth.”
In his own words below, McMillian offers the 7 deadly sins of digital user experience and suggests ways to avoid them.
It’s easy to lust over design and fall prey to “shiny objects;” however, we cannot lead with a solution or feature without first understanding the problem. Set design principles upfront to ensure judicious decision-making – and always stay true to what’s best for the user while considering their chosen context of use.
Over-indulgence often manifests itself in the design process as the dreaded “feature creep.” Projects that start with a clear focus and reasonable scope can quickly find their UX suffering as new features and content are added. One of the best defenses against gluttony is to embrace the “mobile first” approach to product design. Don’t do something just because you can. Place the user at the center and set aside personal preferences to prioritize features and content that will best enhance the user experience.
This is also a sin of excess, but in this case its focus is on material wealth. The challenge of quantifying the return on investment of a good user experience results in UX often sitting low on the list of priorities. But the market caps of companies like Apple, Amazon and Uber are clear indications of the value that user experience brings to a brand. Focus your efforts on building a culture of design and customer-centered thinking in your organization. Make UX the focus of everyone in your business.
Laziness at any step of the software development lifecycle can lead to usability issues or broken interactions…often, companies release products without fully taking into account the importance of quality assurance and usability testing. The diversity of device types, screen sizes and technologies means you must never stop testing – continue to validate your UX design to ensure you have a full understanding of how your product or website functions.
Don’t ignore the wrath of your users. Listen to them, be emphatic and trust that their behavior should inform your design decisions regardless of your personal intuition or preference. Understanding the frustrations your customers have with your brand is the first step in fixing your UX.
Influence from others can result in poor user experiences when applied to your own design challenge. It can also stifle your ability to push boundaries. While it’s perfectly acceptable to be influenced by others, find your own groove, differentiate your experience from competitors and use what you’ve seen as inspiration to push boundaries and innovate.
Don’t be too proud of your decisions that you don’t consider making changes in response to an ever-evolving market. Don’t think you’ve designed something that’s foolproof – you can always optimize. There is no such thing as a finished product.
McMillian concludes, “With a better understanding of common missteps, businesses will be better poised to deliver the type of digital user experiences that customers have come to expect. By partnering with experts in the field, companies can further ensure they’re avoiding design sins that could cost them users…and potentially, their business.”