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Whether you are practicing a User Experience Design strategy or not, the following list may be helpful in reflection over your current and future application development projects.
This list is a collection of common missed opportunities that I’ve witnessed within the GIS application industry:
- Not Understanding UX – User Experience Design isn’t just colors and text, it is the factors that determine how a user will navigate within your application.
I’ve seen companies in the past make the mistake of accepting that their website or application wasn’t easy to use because they worked in a niche market. Well the truth is, times have changed. The increased popularity in mobile devices has made everyone a potential critic and it’s no longer acceptable to deliver clients a sloppy product. It’s a competitive world out there and other, more innovative players, are looking for opportunities where other companies are dropping the ball by creating a second-rate experience. No matter what your role is, every interaction with your customer can pitch a better user experience goal. The fact is that smart companies are now putting user value at the core of their organization and it’s important to get with the times and implement a strategy.
- Burying Features – Don’t make the mistake of having an important feature buried deep in navigation and requiring multiple clicks for your user to access something that could have been made available easier.
- Appeasing the Business – Don’t let forms and technical requirements dictate your workflows rather than addressing the requirements alongside the user stories.
- Hand Holding the User – Your applications should not require large help documents or heavy handed microcopy. A well thought out user experience should not require hand holding.
- Just Getting It Done – Tight budgets and deadlines causing a “just get it done” attitude will lead to abandoning user centered design. Time restraints are unavoidable but should not be an excuse to abandon intelligent design decisions.
- Using a Design Crutch – Avoid customizing an app out of convenience of Material or Flat Design Standards. http://designmodo.com/flat-vs-material/ Branding is important but can be overlooked when creating native applications or using frameworks.
- Presenting Boring Content – Presenting content poorly can confuse and bore users. A page of text is underwhelming, but adding in some additional styling or custom icons and images can make it more consumable.
- Being Indecisive – You should be creating personas and user stories at the start of a project that should not be abandoned without reason. Any time a change is made, there should be consideration to why it would benefit the user.
- Making Yourself The Target User – Designing for yourself or your client instead of the user is most likely a mistake. Be sure to use personas and user stories to back up design decisions.
- Not Doing Enough Testing – There is never enough testing in the wild. Usability Testing is something that we all should do more of but never quite get around to doing. When was the last time you tested your product with users? Surveys, focus groups and customer interviews are all useful in their own right but not a substitute for one-on-one observation. You’ll gain valuable insight that you may never have otherwise uncovered. Don’t assume that your product is easy to use and intuitive just because you think it is. You’re probably too familiar with it to be able to make that judgement. It’s time to start testing.
- Not Document the “Why” – As pushback can come from clients and team members when it comes to planned functionality, documenting the why will defend the decision. Documentation can also help maintain a well-informed dialogue.
- Over-Engineering Your App – By trying to appeal to everyone and adding features left, right and center, you actually dilute your message and could end up with a complex, bloated product.
- Not Considering Multiple Applications – The truth is that a bloated app is a bad app. Multiple focused applications within a suite will be more successful, especially when your users are the public.
- Ignoring Design Trends – Design Trends come and go but trying to stay up to date with the latest and greatest in sexy user interfaces will help you to create a competitive product. Choosing the right design elements can make your application stand out and look modern. An outdated user interface will not be trusted by many public users.
There is no shortage of user experience mistakes being made in today’s vast marketplace so be sure to watch out for these in your own projects. These were the more common UX issues that I’ve encountered within the GIS web and mobile industry; Are there examples of UX mistakes that you’ve seen?- Please share in the comments.
Article provided by Aaron Woodard, TIMMONS GROUP