Putting the User Back in UX (First Post): Updated

“I tend to be someone that knows how to operate a self-checkout at the grocery store. I often get frustrated when people do not know how to use the self-checkout machine and take forever. But yesterday, I became one of those people who didn’t know how to operate the self-checkout machine. When I was ready to pay, I clicked ‘Finish and pay’ on the touchscreen. I then wiped my card on the card machine, but it was stuck on the waiting for approval screen. As I sat there with anxiety that my card was about to be declined and there were people there waiting. A very nice worker informed me that I needed to press the ‘pay with card’ option on the touchscreen of the self-checkout. But I had no clue that it was even a button, nothing gave me clue that it was even a button.”

I too became a victim of bad design. There were no clues on the touch screen that there were buttons. The machine also didn’t tell me that I needed to press the “pay with credit card” button on the touch screen. The credit card scanner shouldn’t have even let me swipe and approve the amount if the touchscreen button needed to be pressed first. The lack of continuity between the self-checkout touchscreen and the credit card scanner was an example of bad design.

What is User Experience? (keyword: User)

User Experience is essentially everything related to how users interact with your product or service. Per the International Organization for Standardization, User Experience is a “person’s perceptions and responses resulting from the use of anticipated use of a product, system, or service.”

Simply, the definition of User Experience is in the name. It is solely focused on experience of the user. It has everything to do with how a user feels about their experience while using your product or service. It is also focused on how your product or service makes a task easier for the user. Or if it does not make a task easier, what can be changed about your product or service to make it more useful to the user based on their feedback.

Put the User back in User Experience.

In my self-checkout story, the designers of the product did not keep the user in mind. It is the designers job to have empathy and design the product for the potential users. The user should be first in the minds of the designer. What might be second nature to the designer of the product is not second nature to the user.

At the end of the day, it is User Experience, not Designer Experience.

Updates:

Current State of UX:

Currently more and more people are realizing the importance of UX Design. Many people are performing UX “tasks” without even necessarily realizing it. What is important is that many people are realizing the importance of a keeping the user at the center of their thinking.

The field is continuing to prosper, so much so , that there is so much more information and tools available. This has caused ux designers to become more specialized in order to be the best at that skill or area.

UX is being applied everywhere. It is no longer only for evaluating homepages of websites. Everyone is using UX in one way or another, without always realizing it. They are using many of the processes that are using in UX in order to properly plan a project from start to finish.

UX designers are beginning to understand the importance of using data to efficiently solve user problems and design better products. Statistical analysis and other tools are currently being used to further UX research. UX is no longer about designing aesthetically pleasing products. It is about using sound and thorough research to create more useful products for users.

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