UX of Software Things

The UX of Software Things

If you’re part of a team that build software products, you’ve probably heard about UX before and you know it’s kind of important. But often in stand-up’s, I hear developers say: “the work I’m doing at the moment doesn’t really form part of the UX”.

Just the other day a developer said to me that he was doing work that wasn’t part of the UX. He was optimising the speed of database queries, so that the reports in our system can load faster to lessen the load on our servers. Naturally, I explained to him that his work was indeed part of the UX, because it would directly impact users in a positive way.

I’ve had many of these types of conversations in the past where people aren’t aware that their work affect the user experience – and I feel it’s important to understand this for two reasons:

  • It helps you to make better decisions in our work
  • It brings an inspiring vision to a team so that they know why they are doing the work

Usefulness trumps usability
“it doesn’t matter how easy your product is to use, if it doesn’t fulfil your users’ needs, they’ll go elsewhere.”

– Usability and usefulness in ux web design

With this in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to show you how I break down the parts of UX in products. To keep things simple, I’m going to break it into five factors that you need to pay attention to: Useful, Usable, Speed, Stable and Pleasant.

Start off by giving each factor 20% of importance across the product you’re building.

UX Breakdown

Look at each factor again and decide which factor is more important and which factor is less important. The most important part of a great user experience is that the product is useful – add 10% to “useful” so that it adds up to 30%.

A less important factor in comparison to “useful” is “speed” – so take away 10% from it

UX Breakdown

Looking at the factors again, the “useful” factor should still be most important than any of the other factors – increase it by another 10%.

…a product’s success relies on a baseline of usefulness. Usability is the direct mediator between user and usefulness, but usefulness remains the constraint by which the product works.

…a truly successful product will have had its usefulness set out well in advance of its physical or digital formation, so as to make development simply a case of maximising usability to mine the idea’s inherent usefulness.

– Usability and usefulness in ux web design

The “speed” and “pleasant” factors can be made equal, because both are less important in comparison to “useful”, “usable” and “stable” – so reduce “pleasant” to make it equal to “speed”.

Leave “usable” and “stable” at 20%, as both are also equal.

UX Breakdown

To create a good user experience with your product, you should first focus on making sure that what you are building is useful to the user. After that, you can make it usable and stable in order for the user to be able use it. Then finally, ensure that your product performs at an acceptable speed and that it is a pleasant experience to use.

The UX of Software Things

Use this breakdown as a guideline in the work you are doing to better understand how each of your areas play a part in the user experience of building your product.

* Remember: each factor is important if you want your product to have a great user experience, this view simply provides a view of how it all fits together.

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