A user’s experience goes far beyond the product we place in front of them. It is more than a swipe animation, more than a series of clicks to reach a goal, more than the color of a pop-up notification.

Of course, all of the subtly refined details play an integral role in creating a unified, pleasurable experience, but the magic is in putting these creative tools to work to create a digital environment where user’s needs are effortlessly fulfilled.

Once a user grows to dread with the amount of time and/or effort required to engage with a product, you’ve likely lost them for good. Many designers may disagree, but a product that’s functional but sparsely designed will, more often than not, be more fulfilling than the most elegantly-designed product with performance flaws.

How do we gauge whether a product is succeeding?
The better a product is built, the less effort a user has to apply. Simple, powerful, and trustworthy products = happy users.

Here are some key user experience guidelines that are often overlooked:

  • The product should be as minimally time intrusive as possible
  • Stick to behavior patterns and user flows that are tested. Users rely on patterns, “If it ain’t broke…” (don’t fix it)
    • Most apps have home buttons in the top left corner of the screen, why place it somewhere else when they have essentially programed that into their minds?
  • Only break convention when the benefits far outweigh the cost of users’ preliminary confusion
  • Be aware that your product is one of hundreds your user is engaging on a regular basis
  • Your product isn’t the only thing demanding their attention
    • Design decisions should take in mind performance as much as aesthetics
  • Never apply design at the expense of efficiency

Designers often start with these points in mind, but it is easy to stray and begin to add more to the concept which can end up in clouding a user’s path to their goal. Keep the product simple, keep the user happy.