User Experiences That Don’t Suck

Creating an enjoyable user experience (UX) is becoming more and more of an essential key to a product’s success. The old saying is true that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. When designing and developing a product, it pays to create each aspect in such a way that your users are not frustrated but instead come away satisfied, if not downright delighted. (The photo illustrations show similar user experience frustrations except occurring in architecture instead of web apps.)


Offering too many options at once or a lack of cohesiveness across the web app makes for a confusing experience. Good design is unobtrusive. The last thing a user needs while navigating a complex process is to be presented with inconsistent layouts and navigation. Reduce clutter. Use progressive disclosure to reveal only the fields that are necessary according to the choices made. At Architecting Innovation we want to eliminate or at least minimize unnecessary hassle. A 5% reduction in the customer defection rate can increase profits by 5-95%.


Make easy visual cues that feel intrinsic and pre-planned rather than patched on later when a problem is discovered. Communicate to the user a feeling that they were expected here and intentional thought was put into making their interaction as hospitable as possible. According to Financial Training Services, 96% of unhappy customers don’t complain, however 91% of those will simply leave and never return.


In long application forms avoid giving users the temptation to drop out and quit by incorporating progress step bars or sequence maps. Organize similar elements into groups. Doing this not only helps with focus but also gives the user the encouragement that a portion has been completed and the end is in sight. Consider offering the option to save and complete later, rather than losing them altogether. Feedback is always useful in letting the user know they have successfully completed an element and where to proceed next.


A difficult user experience can make the user feel like it is their fault and maybe they just don’t ‘get’ technology. Keep it within reach. Sometimes we are blinded by our own deep involvement in a project’s development so we only see it our way. Test usability during development with participants who are seeing the product for the first time, then iterate and improve. It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative one, according to Ruby Newell-Legner’s book, Understanding Customers.


Good UX design includes considering how we present the user with error messages. Appropriate and detailed (and sometimes even humorous) copy helps the user move forward. Often this is seen on a custom 404 error page. It also applies to form entry issues, for instance password setting. It’s a good practice to display the password character requirements so the user knows the guidelines upfront rather than having to do trial and error. Also think about what idiosyncrasies will be encountered when accessing on various devices. At Architecting Innovation we think through the possible errors that might be encountered and then craft a response or solution to help the user get back on track.


Completing a long form can be daunting enough without an app preventing you from moving ahead and not showing why. Through visual indications of successful or unsuccessful validated fields, the user knows exactly what may have been inadvertently missed. This avoids the wasted time of hunting for the problem and becoming frustrated. These are just a few Best Practices we incorporate at Architecting Innovation when developing your product. Experience has taught us that a little extra attention to the details in user experience can improve your product, thus increasing your customer attraction and retention.

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