Decoding the beloved user experience on the basis of experiences. You might not have known that it is as important as oxygen for survival in case of the internet (I didn’t use food here in place of oxygen because it might have an appetite to be cheesy).
Recently, an article caught my attention in a second through its title, How to PRETEND you’re a great designer, and there it was written,
“Print screenshots of other products and call it “competitive analysis”. Add all your Pinterest pins from other talented designers and call it “inspiration”. Make collages of all the terrible iterations you explored and call it “ideation”.”
How does it feel like? It feels like you’re told to be getting three beers at a price of one and charged 5X of that three beers on sweetcorns because they were dipped in tangy-tomato-lime juice (read spicy red coloured water).
I’m not a designer, even I’ve never used Photoshop in my life (yes, I love Canva). I keep visiting different websites to explore their content, and with it, to analyse how they are rectifying the user experience (UX). I’ve some core interests in exploring the routes of deriving the fascinating yet engaging user experiences as much as I’ve in politics and business strategies.
Internet loves skilfully designed interfaces that can attain a better user experience, and there is a crave for it every single time. Then why don’t online publishers have a love for it? To many, the answer is simple, ADVERTISEMENTS. But, an appropriate answer is the PLACEMENT of those advertisements. And to it, more appropriate answer is not having a design build for USERS.
On a primary note, creating great experiences have an impact on how people perceive your brand and on achieving the company’s business goals. It directly or indirectly reflects that how you carry your value propositions, and more importantly, how you look at your customer segments.
For any online publisher, one of the biggest compliments could be that the visitors don’t come to SEE the stories but to READ. Yes, we day-to-day visit a lot of websites and we realise that we’re skimming the content, not reading it. Now, take a break, and think how many such websites do you visit daily to actually read the content? Not taking a second, the mind immediately strikes there’s a need to check, and well, it is a wake up call.
Thankfully, from last few years, companies have started understanding the value and impact of user experience. But many are still stuck to its theoretical part, not the practical part (implementation). Maybe God knows that the next feature in the ecosystem is the revolution in the user experience domain.
Let me cite an example, there is a website that I go during late nights almost daily, and whenever I find the content that relates to my interests, I open that article, skim it within 20 seconds, if I find that it should be read, I immediately save it in Pocket, and there I go to read it the next moment. And I do this every time. The website is one of my favorites, only because of their writers. At first place, I said it’s one of my favorite content platforms, but then why do I need to do this every time? The answer is their real bad user experience. In result to it, the daily time and bounce rate of their website suffer drastically. I’m just one, and their reach is in millions per day, and I’m unsure, how many more would be.
What I analysed is their priority is to give whole lotta space to advertisements popping up and down from the left, right, top and bottom, and when you start scrolling down the article, you’re only left with distraction. I read content to inhale the information, to see how they have played with words, and to figure out what more stuff is cooking up with the subject. And instead of doing all this on their website, I do it on another website (Pocket) for the same content. Every single time! I give 20 secs to their website and around 5 mins to the Pocket. Now, that sparks another worry for their dedicated advertisers.
Whom are they looking out for their adverts? Users. Does engagement matter? Absolutely Yes. Are they reaching out to their targeted segments? Yes and of course, not. Are they only living up on numbers? Obviously Yes. And if this is what they feel is enough for their advertising mandates, the moment I leave the website, I don’t even remember that brand’s name. The Ad that flashes and plays at times over there, demands a focus, is 20 secs [minus 15 secs of looking at content] time limit enough for them? Big spaces, huge prices, massive visitors, and negligible time. What theory does it give you? It gives nothing in return (0.99% ROI maybe if that counts) but tells you that you’re burning your cash on a brutally wrong interface.
Take this another interactive example, I was listening on an online music app and ridiculous Reliance insurance scheme Ad played the next moment the song had to change to next. And guess what, they were rhyming the words of Reliance Insurance Scheme (just imagine this shit), and then it ended with mutual investments warning in the same note as what we get to hear on television.
What all vibe that music created had lost suddenly. I immediately closed the App and switched to my playlist on Play Music. I am not sure what it gave to Reliance but I am pretty sure that app lost so many point scores to make me say what the hell is wrong with their team. That’s their another way of ruining the user experience where I was about to stream like 20-30 songs that time, I listened only two. And since then decided to never use that app while travelling.
Another time, advertisers only burned their money depending upon the number of users but didn’t analyse the engagement and paid no heed to the user experience. While App lost a user who would have given 3 continuous hours to them, but it didn’t happen only because of their self-approved poor user experience.
The biggest problem out of all this is User Experience is still not a mainstream term. People don’t understand what it is, but pretend to be knowing all of it because it is so simple to define as user experience is the overall experience of a person using a product. And if you’re a bit smart, you can add some good terms to it, like fascinating, mind-blowing, decent et al, and see, how you feel proud of yourself. But then also pray that you don’t indulge with someone who actually knows what UX is.
It takes nothing to being obvious about what you want to deliver. A small mistake can take you far away in the long run, and a tiny miss too. It takes nothing but efforts to be easy and to deliver proficiency with an ease. But, it seems like it all takes a lot!
As it is never too late to say that think less, design better. It’s also never too late to analyse the circles to escalate the user experience flow so that dots (loyal users) can be put on it and stay on it, not the tangents which cross by it. A proper user experience can only be attained and maintained when the significant key areas are clearly identified which also evolve in helping the factor of branding. Having said that, adverts are important to push the revenue streams but it is that content that diverts the users towards the website.
It’s all about super-focusing on the critical parts and finessing them to completion. Analysing different patterns always work just like what A/B testing does with advertising, and feedbacks also play a major role, putting notes and observations together can actually make it significantly easier to design a better user interface and attain a notable difference in user experience. A part that shouldn’t be forgotten ever is make it work for everyone.
The postscript will always read that everything – means everything – starts and ends at User Experience.
Crafted with brevity for select stories to make certain you see what others don't; Page One is delivered every Sunday
Two exclusive fortnightly newsletters, sent on Saturday alternately
a) Reel and Real with Rony Patra
b) Mixer with Ayush Garg