5 Ways Your UX Is Awful (And Why It Matters)

Why are luxury cars expensive? Sure, there’s the heftier engine and sexy tech, but the reason luxury cars are expensive really doesn’t boil down to performance: instead, you’re paying for the experience. In a luxury car like a Maserati, every single sensation the driver experiences has been engineered to delight. And I don’t mean suede seats or hand-tanned dashboards, though those are certainly part of it — no, I mean that even the way the car smells is designed to elicit pleasure. Car makers even go so far as to test the way car doors sound when they shut: a cheaper car has a lighter-feeling door with a “clankier” sound, but close the door to a Bugatti and it has a satisfying, robust sound worthy of a $1.7 million price tag.

Automakers know that the engine — which, really, is the product — isn’t the selling point. Think a Bugatti would fetch that price if its engine were stuffed in a Honda body? Nope. And so it is with your product: if it’s nestled within a terrible user experience design, it doesn’t matter how great it is, you’re not going to ever get it to scale. But how do you know if your UX is awful? Here are five symptoms:

  1. You’re not using client-side rendering. The phone you’re likely reading this on is more powerful than NASA’s deep space vehicle, Orion. The laptop you use at work could destroy the processing power of a Supercomputer form just 15 years ago. You’re not doing anyone any favors by processing tasks on your Jurassic servers. Using client-side rendering keeps you on the cutting edge of technology and keeps you out of technical debt. After all, even an iPhone is going to be upgraded much sooner than your servers will, so harness that power. You’ll get faster load times and more flexible customized, responsive individual messaging.
  2. You’re not selling your own product. This is downright silly. Your customers are coming to you for a product, so why would you deny them? It’s like opening a doughnut shop, having people show up expecting doughnuts, and then telling them they can pick up the doughnuts in a basement thirty miles away. It makes you look really sketchy — even if your customers trust you, they haven’t established a relationship with your third-party vendor and aren’t likely to, so keep that product local and keep the money local too.
  3. Your forms aren’t delightful. There’s a strong chance your website utilizes data capture, but there’s an equally strong chance those form fields are killing everyone’s will to live. Want a good example of a company nailing great forms? Check out hioscar.com. A seamless data entry, forms that are interactive, and you don’t have to hit enter to have results. Imagine that. And tabbing? There’s a special place in purgatory for companies that make their clients tab between fields.
  4. Your website is complicated. Humans aren’t very good at making decisions, so if your landing page is awash in content competing for attention, your users won’t understand where to go. An example? Yahoo.com. It bills itself as a search engine, but its home page has everything from celebrity gossip to viral videos and you have to dedicate significant energy hunting for the place to put in your search term. This is why Google is wiping the floor with Yahoo. Your UX should be elegant but simple and provide a clear path for your customers to follow. Otherwise, they’ll follow the path of least resistance to your competitor’s site.
  5. You’re copying. Hioscar.com is a great site, but unless you’re selling insurance, you probably shouldn’t be copying their UX strategy. Your users’ experiences should be wholly designed by you for them based on significant user testing. A luxury clothing company should not, for instance, catapult their visitors into clunky HTML or non-responsive mobile design. No, the experience should be sophisticated and feel as luxurious as the clothing itself. Customize the user experience design for your customers, not for someone else’s.

Just as automakers invest serious money into details like what exactly a new car should smell like, software companies throw massive money at UX designers to engineer the perfect user experience. Don’t cut corners and assume that your customers are smart enough to navigate a lackluster journey: they may be smart enough, but as soon as an alternative arrives, they’ll follow it. If you’re serious about scaling out, affecting your bottom line, and solidifying your name as one worthy of trusting, overhaul your UX.

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