Beauty in UX

By Justus Mbaluka, Moringa School Student

4 and half weeks are gone now. Things are now tough, really tough. Two things might have happened. It’s either this new programming concepts I have been learning have erased every basic thing I knew about programs or it finally downed on me that this field is diverse with a lot of new things to learn everyday.

I have been playing around with code, built 3 very basic and WORKING web applications using rails. Check the their code here. These projects have been a eye opener for me in the rails world and despite the fact that I am not fully acquainted with the language syntax, I atleast know what each line of code is supposed to do. Android still remains not user-friendly with libraries proofing to be a tough nut to crack.

Amidst all this crazy code world episodes, the best experience I had in these past few weeks happened on Thursday 16th April. I had my very first client meeting to discuss a web application project he had in his mind. This was a good opportunity to apply UX studies in setting up the necessary ground work for software development. We discussed the program features and how to the design should look like. I listened carefully and took notes, lots of notes to the extend it got scary.

Technology consumers have different mind states. Sometimes they know exactly what they want and sometimes they don’t. It is a bit easier to desing a product for the former but when the latter is the case, things get a bit complex. You have to ignite their “aha” feelings in them or you and your product get toasted, something which happens really fast in the tech world.

Fom these few weeks I have intaracted with UX concepts, it’s quite clear that this is the most important field in the technology. It’s a major determinant of your software success, just like marketing in business. This is because consumers want two things in any product. They want something useful(solves their probems) and easy to use, thats all. This is where UX study comes in handy. Based on your investment in this field, your product will fall into 4 categories;

1. Not useful but easy to use.

In this case, you got yourself a nice application dusting in the shelves of the app store. What happened here is you were such an awesome coder who developed an awesome future cooling system for the eskimos in the polar region. In the end, you got freezed in that cooling system of yours.

2. Useful but difficult to use.

In this case, you will have a problem-solving application. Consumers will try to have it and use it. No one wants a brain torturing experince. They will get frustrated and in no minute dump it for your competitors. In the end you lose market share and your investors come on to you like huricane. Please avoid these state, you succeeded in solving a problem, go ahead and make it easy for your consumer. Get some good designers and a good developer to make it happen.

3. Not useful and difficulty to use.

If you have a product which is not easy to use and doesn’t solve anyone’s problems, keep it in your cabinet as a constant reminder of what you should never do again.

4. Useful and easy to use.

This is the golden trophy. Any product which lies in this category saves the product manager tones of dollars in marketing and product iterations.Users will find it easy to interact with and are more likely to reffer to their friends, afterall, a happy customer might tell a friend…the unhappy one will tell the world on twitter. If your product lies in this category, congrats for being awesome.

Leaving your desk to have some nice conversations with your target consumers will lead to you having a product that lies in the 4th category. For the developers, it will help a lot in making the development process very easy. Once you get it right in the design stage, coding will be easy since you won’t have to re-write your code over and over again.

Study your Users First, the rest shall fall into place.