Remember the dinosaur days? No, not those dinosaur days. I’m talking about the technological dinosaur days. The ones where we had to do things like dial-up to connect to the Internet. The ones where we had to insert discs into our computers in order to gain access to software, such as, say, a Human Capital Management (HCM) platform.
Well, it’s now 2017, and today we require technology - and for this blog, I’m specifically talking about software- to be easily accessible with no disc required. We need it to be instantaneous, responsive, intuitive, and crisp. Additionally, the product needs to be friendly, sympathetic and welcoming to the user, not slow, out-dated, condescending and standoffish. Last and far from being least, software needs to be emotionally designed. Aarron Walter, VP of Design Education at InVisionApp and author of “Designing for Emotion”, defines Emotional Design as, “…design that uses psychology and craftsmanship to create an experience for users that makes them feel like there’s a person, not a machine, at the other end of the connection.”
Well yeah, we get it, it’s nice of the designer to have the user in mind, but is it really necessary? Chris Petescia, CXO and Co-Founder of Brooklyn-based Carrot Creative, says yes: designing emotionally is no longer optional in this day and age. Petescia says, “The world is shifting in cultural expectation: designing for the user is no longer a luxury to choose to indulge or not, it is the user’s expectation. Because of this, it’s a competitive landscape to do it better and provide the best.”
Ok, that’s fair. But how does a designer make his or her software thoughtful? Through impeccable UX and UI design.
UX Design is the conglomeration of tasks focused on the optimization of a product for effective and enjoyable use (Careerfoundry).
UI Design is UX’s complement - the look and feel, the presentation and interactivity of a product (Rocketfuel).
Still unclear? Rocketfuel likes to think of UX as a home’s landscaping and interior decorating, and UI as a house’s foundation and electrical work: “Where UI is concerned with building a sturdy, functional house, UX uses aesthetics to influence how you and your guests feel about being there. A website's style, tone, and content all fall under the UX umbrella, and they make a huge impact on whether people enjoy using the site or not.”
It’s obvious, isn’t it? If you are going to sell your house and have people take a tour through it, you make sure it’s as clean as can be. If you want people to return to your restaurant and recommend it to their peers, you make sure they have a perfect dinner. You want whatever you are designing to be remarkable.
User Interface Engineering Founder and CEO, Jared Spool, says that in order to achieve long-term remarkability for your product, you must build in long-term delight (Designing for Emotion). This may sound strange, and you may be thinking to yourself, “Is delightfulness something that can really be triggered by software?” The answer is yes. Why not create your product with the goal of making the user actually look forward to using it? Aarron Walter asks: “What if an interface could help you complete a critical task and put a smile on your face?....that would be an idea worth spreading.”
It’s pretty simple: poor UX is a dismissal of the value of a user’s time and energy, and will likely turn off a customer, says Petescia. Put in the effort to the user can use your product effortlessly.
It starts with understanding the needs of the people you are designing for (Designing for Emotion). Here at Viventium, we’ve done our research and know what our users want. Our developers abide by a few important principles when it comes to thoughtfully maintain our software for our users:
They asked Wayne Gretzky, the greatest scorer in NHL history and possibly the greatest hockey player who ever lived, what was his single key to success. His answer: “I skate to where the puck is going to be.” Regarding UX and UI, the designer must design for not only where the puck currently lies, but for where the puck is headed. Whatever you’re designing needs to be adaptable to all the future changes headed our way. Right now, we’re in the smartphone world/mobile app world, so features like ESS (Employee Self Service) and MSS (Manager Self Service) are more necessary than ever in the HCM market. What’s next, you ask? Well, carefully study your market, and let the sci-fi brainstorm begin for all UX/UI designers.
“Some things don’t change. A picture can speak a thousand words. The right tune can move the soul. And, a well-developed user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) can make or break your product.”
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