May the 4th be with (the) User Experience

Author: Tiago Bruno – with a little help from my (marketing) friends…

We have a saying in Portugal… ‘The eyes also eat’. I think here in the UK, you say ‘The first bite is with the eye’?

The better presented the plate of food, the more likely we are to enjoy it. Apparently, our brain makes this somewhat irrational decision rather quickly and purely based on the presentation even before we have tasted the food! So even though the dish may look less than appetizing, what if it tastes fantastic? Reviews can make or break a business.

The same can be said for business system solutions. A solution can be entirely functional and deliver exactly what it was created for, but if the presentation is poor and results in the user not enjoying the experience, the chances are it will get a bad review.

The creator will feel dejected and confused, because the solution meets the spec and works. The user will feel frustrated and disappointed because the delivery doesn’t meet expectations.

If you’re really starving hungry, I could serve you my University special – spaghetti with tinned tuna and mayo, served in a plastic bowl with accompanying plastic fork. This dish is going to completely fulfil the brief. Not only can it be prepared in super-fast time, it will definitely fill your belly in 10 minutes. Job done.

Alternatively, I could rustle up a 23 day matured 8oz fillet steak, served with asparagus, crumbled Stilton cheese, drizzled with a port syrup and sweet potato fries. Candles on the table and a decent glass of Rioja to compliment that juicy steak will seal the deal.

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Both meals do the same job satisfying the hunger pains, but I know which one is going to give me a more enjoyable experience and keep me going back for more.

The front end of a system can be measured in the same way: it can either be a plastic bowl of spaghetti or a perfectly cooked steak. They both do the same job, but one is more refined, easier on the eye and pleasurable than the other.

So how can you bridge the gap? Resolving a problem whilst making it a great experience and then some?

It’s all about attention to detail and presentation. By listening to the client and their frustrations, we can turn a poor product review into a great one.

My theory? A satisfying user experience will inevitably empower the user as they begin to regularly score small achievable wins throughout the project. Being able to deliver above and beyond what is expected, maybe create an invoice or produce a report for a manager is a total trip! Unlocking your users’ potential as a problem solver will in turn unlock the potential of your system. (Those little wins build confidence and smart thinking)

Read part 2 of this 2 part blog series

Blog post by Tiago Bruno – Technical Consultant