No matter how technical the term 'User Experience' might sound, it is simply 'Human Experience' while interacting with something digital. With a surge in competition, UX design is playing an exciting role, more than ever before.
The Seven Factors of User Experience devised by Peter Norville, an information architect, is an exemplary user-centered model. Although the role of every facet has evolved with time, they still are the building blocks of a design process.
Keep reading to know the basic facets that are kept in mind while designing a product or service, so that an outstanding user experience can be crafted. These facets are
Let us take a look at every facet of the 7 Factors that influence User Experience.
Have you heard about the 'internet-connected Juicero'? This machine squeezed pre-packaged vegetables and fruits. Why was the $700 overly priced and bulky machine not useful? For a process as simple as making juice, the machine had to be operated with WiFi and an app. Not only this, the machine would squeeze out juice only from the company's pre-packed pouches!
The ultimate reason for failure- mentioned in a Bloomsberg article was that juice could be squeezed from these pouches with bare hands. Ruling out the need of the machine itself!
What went wrong? The very first facet was ignored. The product design had a hilariously expensive solution to a problem as simple as extracting juice. The intent (design) did not meet the purpose (of extracting juice). Why will anyone buy a product which does not address a need?
The 'Useful' facet is the core enabler of User Experience. A product or service is useful if it is meeting the 'need' or solving a 'problem' of the user.
Moreover, a product/service can be useful to a group of users while it may not make sense to others. For example, the iTunes app is useless to a person who does not use or prefer using an iPhone.
Credibility is in a way, the fulfillment of a brand's promise. This facet, if not taken seriously can immediately lead to the failure of the product. Not only this, it can brutally damage the brand image.
We can again refer to the above example of the juicer to understand the importance of this facet. After only a couple of (proven) negative reviews, the brand lost its trust and was taken down in just seventeen months.
It is pretty clear, that the two facets, 'Useful' and 'Credible' are two sides of a coin. If the users cannot find the reason to trust your product/service, you cannot even call your product useful.
While surfing across the internet, will you even take your search further, if you feel that the design quality is not good? What will you feel if you encounter typos, grammatical mistakes, broken lines on the home page itself? What if the website is not present with complete and correct information? These details, if not addressed properly can affect the credibility of the website significantly.
Be it a product or service, it should be potential enough to generate trust among the users. It should be and appear authentic, legitimate, and professional.
If your product is built on the facets of 'Useful' and 'Credible' it is deemed to bring value to the 'Users'. And if it brings value to the users, it will bring value to the business ultimately.
The above-discussed example of the very hyped internet-connected juicer claimed to have received a capital of $120 million from leading investors including Google Ventures, but went bankrupt in less than three years!
The reason was very basic, it couldn't bring value to the users. The $700 machine was too expensive to be useful (it was incapable of extracting juice from home-cut vegetables and fruits) and too unreliable to be trusted (the pouches could be hand-squeezed and that too in lesser time than the machine). It compromised the two facets, 'Useful' and 'Credible'.
Thus, a product/service, valuable to the user is valuable to the business.
A design meets the 'Accessible' facet when it can reach an audience with different abilities. In the above-mentioned example of the internet-operated juicer, the product did not consider users with slow or no internet connection.
If the product/service empathizes with a diverse audience, say people with impaired vision, impaired motion or learning abilities, impaired hearing abilities, etc, it is 'Accessible'. For example, if a blog page has focused on color contrast and font size, plus it has screen reader support, the website has kept in mind users with different abilities.
All in all the product/service should be disability-friendly.
Often confused with the term 'Useful' a product/service is usable when it is efficient, effective, engaging, and easy to use. The purpose to address this facet is to ensure that the user, while interacting with the product/service, is satisfied (if not happy) with the interaction.
This is possible if a design encompasses certain features like easy navigation, a correct flow of information for completing the task, standard color contrast and font size, server abilities, etc.
"The usability gap is that you have the feature, but people can't use it."- Jakob Nielson
There are products /services which are useful, but not usable. For example, certain traditional bank apps are useful, but they do not meet the standards of usability. Usability might not be a necessity, but it enhances User Experience to a great extent. The user will love using a usable product/service and will not feel lost while interacting with it.
A product potent enough to trigger a 'desire to use', must have incorporated all the facets from 'useful' to 'accessible'. A smartly crafted user experience design that meets all the functional and emotional aspects stands out in a market full of useful and purposeful products.
For example, a Rolls Royce qualifies all facets from Useful to Accessible, but what makes it desirable? The world's most luxurious and expensive cars are popular because they are 'unique' in every sense. The handcrafted cars have unlimited upgrades and provide a virtually silent ride.
The extraordinary features, the luxury it offers, the brand name, the functionality, the credibility, all make it an object of 'desire'.
How does an index help in reading a book? It gives the reader a portrait of what is in the book and makes the content of the book easy to locate. You can flip over to the page having the topic of your choice by just looking at the index.
Delivering authentic information related to the product easily and efficiently should be the motive of a product/service. For example, you have to buy a gift for a toddler from an eCommerce website. If the website does not filter and customize your search and shows you what you want to buy, you might leave the website frustrated.
The findable facet of the 7 Factors that influence User Experience, serves the overall purpose of a UX design. It ensures that the product reaches its audience.
A superior user experience goes beyond the five senses. With products and services becoming more and more human-centric it is crucial to understand the significance of the 7 factors of UX, which acts as the building blocks of an outstanding User Experience Design.
Also, it is important to understand that 'User Experience' is an ever-evolving concept. Embracing and adapting to the changes is the best way to stand out in today's competitive market.