DIY: Improving User Experience

Ademar / January 18, 2019

This thought started when I read one of an interns chat on Campfire regarding one of our internal project involving property rentals

The question was:
 As a renter, how do I actually apply for a rental property?

Although the intern has fixed a few bugs on the project, he is still not familiar with all the functionalities of the application. This is not a unique situation, I for one have been in this kind of situation before. You already started working on the project, have some PR merged but have not yet been familiar with the entire application.

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In 2015, there was an article in Fast Company titled: "Female Shoppers No Longer Trust Ads Or Celebrity Endorsements". It talked about how celebrities endorsement is no longer enough to convince consumers to purchase products.

Why are celebrities endorsement no longer enough?

"Before buying a product for themselves or their families, women want to hear from everyday people with whom they can relate: 86% of the 1,470 women surveyed said they put the most trust in real peoples’ product and service recommendations."

An endorsement from a person (a youtuber or social media influencer) that uses the product is much more trustworthy than from a paid celebrity.

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User Experience has been buzzword word for quite some time now.  The problem with UX (user experience) is that it became so broad that it became meaningless.

These days there are two things that compromise user experience expertise.

The first one is the tools. Once you mention Sketch, Marvel app,  Adobe XD, pen, and paper, any mockup tool that does require you to do actual code, you become a bona fide UX expert.

Next is to have an utterly focus on the customer. Knowing  Design Thinking, Apple/Microsoft/Google design guidelines, user research, user-centered design, psychology, and human-computer interaction is an arsenal to your UX expertise.

Be cautious of mentioning too much development skills. Anyone who knows how to code must necessarily be "pretending" as a designer.

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It has become apparent that endorsing a product you don't use is not effective. It is the same as developing an app you had never used before. How do you think the experience of the user will be?

Building the user experience of the is not just the responsibility of the UX expert. Developers and QAs also have the same responsibility. We have to be familiar with the app and figure out if the UX is good or not.

How to distinguish if the user experience is bad or good?

From the term itself, "experience". You have to figure out if the user's experience is good or bad.

Is this the same thing as QA or Developer mindlessly filling up forms in the app?

Absolutely not. This is where the word "user" comes in.  Each "user" has their own purpose using the app, they also have their own scenarios.

For example, if you came to a new city and started applying for houses to rent, how would you rate the user experience of Abang?

You are accustomed to renting dresses offline. You are not a techie and is only familiar with using Instagram or Twitter. You found out about HURR and tried to rent an outfit for the first time. How would you rate your experience renting on HURR for the first time?

These are the questions we must consistently ask ourselves while developing and testing the applications. 

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How do we improve user experience?

Put yourself in the shoes of the user, and experience using the app. Wondering how the user experiences your app? Do it yourself! Use the app!

Once you are in this mindset, the minor details you were unaware before as a developer becomes significant roadblocks.