Let’s face it, the ideal world of a UX Designer working in collaboration with the team through the entire process is rare. In most places I’ve worked for, eventually the designers, developers and product managers need to solve many UX problems themselves.
This is not true for UI Design, Front-End development or Back-End development. For example, usually the Front-End code is determined by the Front-End developer only.
To better explain this problem, I will use a fictional product I invented (copied from Gmail), called Deliver — a simple e-mail web client, and show how lack of UX knowledge in each one of the product development stages, can make the entire thing go wrong.
Assume that we have a basic wireframe for the app, done by the UX person after some proper research.
After it was approved by the big bosses, it was sent along with some more states and screens to the designers. Everybody loved the UX and thought nothing can go wrong.
Two different designers worked on two different versions. The results were interesting.
Product Designer #1
Product Designer #2
Summary: Both designers did an awesome job in design terms. They chose proper colors, made a good use of whitespace and were very consistent to the wireframe they got. But while designer #2 nailed it, designer #1 fucked up the UX.
So now, the chosen design was handed off to two Front-End Developers. Again — they both hold two different approaches regarding UX.
Front-End Developer #1
Front-End Developer #2
Summary: Small differences make a big change. Many developers sin by making these mistakes over and over. In our case, both developers might have been very experienced, and probably awesome people overall. They both know how to write clean, readable and reusable code. Still, only #2 will bring the desired satisfaction to the users.
So one of the developers was fired :) but the other passed his code to the Server Side Developers! Their job is to populate the UI with the real content from the database. Let’s see what they came up with.
Back-End Developer #1
Back-End Developer #2
Summary: Developer #1 wrote software that loads the entire mail list much faster, but didn’t realize that the user needs the most recent, and ASAP. This shows us that even a decision made by a server side developer (or perhaps, a supervisor) can have a huge effect on the overall User Experience.
What can we learn from this?
- As a team building a product, you need to put UX very high in your priority list.
- Just because someone is titled “UX Designer” doesn’t mean he’s the only one that should improve the UX. It’s a team effort, so consider yourselves UX Designers as well.
- Still, you should want a UX expert in your team. UX is not only fast loading, clear design and slick transitions. It’s about thinking about your users 200% of the time.
- UX rocks :D