7 key factors that can make or break UX


Usability is one of the most common terms used when describing the user experience (UX) of apps and websites today. Although it’s an integral part of UX design, usability is just one of the factors that determine the success of a product after its launch.

Today, the concept of UX has expanded to include usefulness, findability, accessibility, credibility, value, and desirability. All of these components bring something different to UX and create value for the end user. But before we can understand how they fit into the process, we must fully understand the concepts behind each of these factors.

Good usability can make all the difference

Usability is all about enabling users to achieve their end goal in the most efficient and seamless way possible. Usability is concerned with enabling users to effectively and efficiently achieve their end objective. Products that have good usability are much more likely to have wide appeal among consumers who can access almost any service of information with the click of a mouse.

A prime example of why usability matters so much is the successful debut of the iPod over thirteen years ago. It was not the first MP3 player on the market, but the product took usability to a whole new level, which was exactly what consumers were craving at the time.

A useful product that serves a purpose

While the usefulness of a product can vary according to the type of user, there should always be a practical reason or purpose for creating in the first place. A useful product is designed to help users easily accomplish a task or objective. We would label many of the popular products and services that we use every day as useful because they provide us with the right tools to get work done in an efficient manner.

For example, Microsoft Word – one of the most commonly used word-processing programs – is designed to help people produce written documents, and its effectiveness is tangible and measurable. From articles to reports to research, the program is seen as a useful product that can serve a wide range of user needs.

Make your product and content easy to find

Let’s face it – consumers today have a very limited attention span, especially online, so enhancing the findability of your product will help improve its chances of success. Once a user clicks on a website or app, all of the content presented should also be easy to find and follow.

If you were in a supermarket with aisles that were not labeled, it would be an incredibly frustrating experience as you would not be able to quickly find what you are looking for. Digital products don’t always follow the same design principles that keep content, features and tools organized around consumer needs. However, this example shows the importance of doing just that as happy customers will often want to come back for more.

Content should be credible and trustworthy

For a user to consider a product to be credible, he or she must be convinced enough to instill a certain level of trust in it. When using an app or website, tech-savvy consumers often look for specific things to assess whether a product is credible. Some of these attributes include a well-organized homepage and navigation bar, a consistent color scheme and design, as well as upfront disclosure if necessary. Broken links, spelling errors, incorrect or confusing information, will degrade the product’s overall credibility and discourage users from coming back.

Why designing for accessibility matters

Accessibility is one of the most overlooked facets of the UX design process, simply due to the fact that many companies have the impression that users with disabilities are only a very small segment of their target market. According to the most recent data from the US Census Bureau, nearly one out of every five people in the country has a disability.

So that means that most companies are missing out by ignoring 20% of all their potential users. For those businesses that decide to invest in accessibility, products are designed with specific tools and features in mind with the aim of providing the same user experience to a disabled person.

Creating value for the every day consumer

Besides usability and usefulness, one of the most important facets of UX centers on the need to deliver value for the end user, as well as the company that creates the product. A beautifully designed website or app can have good usability and accessibility, but if it doesn’t meet a specific consumer need or make their lives any easier, then it will not likely succeed in the long run.

Branding a desirable product can help you stand out

With so many options available to online users, it is absolutely crucial that companies take the right steps to make their product and brand more desirable to their customer bases. This is usually done with aesthetics and bold imagery that differentiates a brand name from the rest of the competition.

Emotions are one of the biggest motivators that influence consumers’ decision making. A recent study conducted by Dentsu Aegis Network found that advertising spend on mobile is expected to overtake desktop in 2018, amounting to an estimated 56% of global digital ad spend. Next year, mobile ad spend is forecast to reach $116 billion. With Smartphone subscriptions set to hit 4 billion by 2025, companies cannot afford to ignore the emotional factor when it comes to designing a desirable product and experience.

All of the above mentioned facets play a key role in creating and shaping the end product and user experience. While some UX designers may put more emphasis on factors like usability and usefulness, it is important that they do not neglect the other five components which can also make or break website or app. Products that balance usability, usefulness, findability, accessibility, credibility, value, and desirability have a much better chance of succeeding when they come to market.

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