Thinking with our Thumbs- UI/UX Perspective for Managers today
By Rohit Goswami
Whether we are booking a taxi, waiting for one, choosing a restaurant or checking out other people’s random life updates and work anniversaries - we have all acquired the involuntary habit of fiddling with our phones and thinking with our thumbs.
In a multitasking, fast-paced environment, we make quick choices based on need, function (“this thing is not opening” or “there’s nothing here”, “let me move on”), sometimes even as we are crossing a road. Stop for a moment! You and the user of your product are not exactly as task oriented, need based, functionally oriented as you may think.
“Almost everyone says texting while driving is distracting, but 36 percent of people say they do it. While 86 percent say dealing with social media is very distracting when behind the wheel, 21 percent say they browse it and 16 percent post their own updates.” – The Washington Post.
You’d naturally like to have your user’s undivided attention, as you help her accomplish her goals, however her mind is in too many places at the same time, so you need more than just technology to make many more meaningful moments of engagement.
The simple rule of thumb in the digital age is that your product should have a gorgeous interface, a wow experience every time and must allow users to achieve their objectives in the best way possible.
Simply put, the success of your product/ service/ app is not always about the technology. It’s actually about psychology, and people, and how they behave. Tech is the means to the end, but not the end in itself. Remember that it all starts from people!
We talk about this and more in our 12-week online program in User Experience and Interaction Design course, created at Spread, and live now on Manipal ProLearn. See more about the course here. If you’re a designer, design enthusiast, techie, or a startup, and if you want to create the next generation of user experiences, the course is designed for you!
Here’s a sneak peek into what you’d learn in the program: to make sure that what you create is usable, useful, and beautiful, make sure you follow these ten rules of thumb, courtesy of Jakob Neilsen - these are also called Usability Principles or Heuristics:
1. Always keep the user informed: Show status, keep giving updates - no one likes to be kept in the dark!
2. Speak the user’s language: Make sure the language is relatable, simple, and natural - it should sound like you are talking to a person!
3. Give your users freedom: Let users undo and redo actions, and exit something they started by mistake.
4. Maintain consistency: Make sure the same words and actions that are used throughout have the same meaning.
5. Prevent errors: Identify and prevent situations where errors and possible; double-confirm important actions like “Delete Forver” where there is no “Undo” option.
6. Prioritize recognition over recall: Show users things they can recognize, rather than asking them to recall something from scratch. For example, When a user goes back to Amazon.com, the personalized homepage includes a list of recently viewed items.
7. Keep it flexible and efficient: Provide options for frequent users to skip steps, or even tailor frequent actions.
8. Keep it minimal: Every extra bit of information distracts the user, so make sure the UI is minimal and focuses on the most important action.
9. Have helpful error messages: Error messages should be clear, state the problem, and offer a solution.
10. Make sure help is easy to find: Ideally your product should need no Help Guide - the UI itself should be intuitive. However, if help is needed, make it easy to search, based on the user’s tasks.
These are just a few rules of thumb - and based on the kind of product you’re building, you’ll need to prioritize among these.
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Also, do check out the UX & UI course, and reach out to us directly if you have any questions or would like to just say hello - I am Rohit (firstname.lastname@example.org)