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Ease and simplicity in UX evaluation

April 22, 2021
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Photo by Federica Galli on Unsplash

As user experience professionals, a core focus in everything we do is ease and simplicity. Once creatives venture too far down the design path, they can lose sight of the end users’ needs. While a colorful, fancy interface can be good, we cannot forget a product or application's original mission. The form of the design must follow its function in this sense. 

Author Steve Krug was a Usability Consultant when he wrote the first edition of 'Don't Make Me Think,' which proved to be a seminal work after its original release in 1999. He was able to convey the value of human factors, along with direct and simple web design. What Krug communicated in the late '90s has become much more common in the UX industry nowadays. And still, his mantra of designing for easy and direct task completion demands repeating.

Things should be concise. Signup and onboarding procedures for a product, website, or application are only a small part of the journey. If I'm completing a signup form for, say, a paid sports news website, I'm not there because I enjoy entering my name, address, and credit card info. I'm doing that to get to the good part, the content. Why make a user waste their time or energy on something like a flawed signup process when you can ensure it's as streamlined as possible?

A program, product, or service has to meet the users' needs above all else. And to meet the users' needs appropriately, the product itself should not generate additional frustration or confusion. The design must help the user easily accomplish their goals. 

That is why it is crucial to assess your product not just during development, but after production as well. It should become a regular occurrence, with check-ins and evaluations built right into a company's calendar. Iteration offers the chance to not only perfect the product itself but the processes you employ for product improvements. 

In a highly competitive and ever-changing marketplace, the ability to evolve and adapt is invaluable. Don't just think one step ahead; think two steps ahead. Look for an edge anywhere you can find it. It's so important to take a nuanced and measured approach to a product redesign.

Things around us are constantly changing, and it's no exception with your product. There are always changes with the users, the market, the industry, and on and on. Ignoring those changes is giving up.

As mentioned in this blog last week, Jakob Nielsen's 10 general principles for interaction design is an excellent resource when conducting a UX evaluation for ease and simplicity. We've talked about recognition versus recall here before as well, and that is just one heuristic that speaks to ease of use. 

For example, if a mobile app user has to stop and think about a navigation symbol or a menu word choice, that is a design flaw. The user had to recall what a particular word or symbol is referring to, and that hesitation costs unnecessary time and effort along the journey. With a simple approach to these kinds of design elements, we can foster recognition instead, where the user observes something and immediately knows what it does or what it means. 

As author Steve Krug notes on his personal website, sensible.com, it's not just UX designers who stand to benefit from his design principles. There's also 'developers, designers (visual, interaction, and UI), product managers, Agile team leaders, writers, editors, marketers, and CEOs.' And that's very important to note. Once different team members come together to evaluate and redesign products for ease of use, the process and the final product will benefit greatly.

Here at 3Digit, we employ these practices whether we are designing a digital or physical product. We understand the experience is key. If you would like to learn more about our services, click here. You can read more of what we have to say about other topics below and if you're interested in working together, contact us.