Hey, can you ‘do the UX’ for us?

A tale of UX as a misconception.

Hey, I’m James, UX designer starting today on this project.

— Cool, I’m Kev, project manager. Glad to have you on the team.

— Glad to be here. How can I help?

— So… We have designed a first version of our app, but we’re now thinking of doing the UX to improve a few things… People are downloading the app, using it once, but not really coming back to it over time.

“Do” the UX

What they meant: can you help us think through the app’s interaction design, structure and navigation?

Where the misconception is: presuming one single person is responsible for successfully conceiving, designing, implementing and validating the user’s experience with a product.

A good user experience depends on:

  • Clear structure and navigation flows;
  • Compelling and clear visual design;
  • Great copy and tone of voice;
  • Thoughtful transitions and animations;
  • The app’s performance and speed;
  • The user’s mobile phone performance and speed;
  • The user’s internet connection;
  • The product making sense to that user;
  • The product adding value to what that user needs;
  • A clear understanding by the user of what the product does;
  • How accessible the product is;
  • The user’s social, cultural and demographic context;
  • Where the user is at the time they engage with the app;
  • Everything the user has seen in their entire life;
  • How the user is feeling that particular day they use the product;
  • Etc, etc, etc.

Sure, I can do the UX for you.

“I love the UX you did for that mobile app”

What they meant: I love the interface you designed.

Where the misconception is: UX is an abstract noun, not concrete.

James has 8 UXs in their bag and gives 3 to Kev. How many UXs does James have left?

“This user interface is missing a little bit of UX”

What they meant: this user interface is hard to use.

Where the misconception is: that good UX = good usability.

UX stands for User Experience. A user’s experience with your product can be good or bad (in the example above, probably bad). UX Designers are not magic creatures holding a wand that simply “adds” UX to an interface. The UX was already there — it was just making the user’s life miserable.

“Hmm, there’s too much UX in this product”

What they meant: iougarklasjbsdfgaiweoqiuwyrshbe.

Where the problem is: in the world.

“New course: learn everything about Android UX”

What they meant: learn a few best practices that will help you make less mistakes when designing app interfaces that will live on Android-powered devices.

Where the misconception is: thinking that every single Android app experience is the same, and that there are a series of universal laws that work for any Android app — from a game to an ecommerce app, including dating apps and maps.

It’s like creating a course for architects called “learn how to design lofts”. No matter whether it is a 300 or 3000 square-foot one. Whether it is residential or a storage area. Whether it is for a single person, or for a family of eight. Whether it is built in a Rio favela or on an Icelandic plateau. Whether it will be made of clay or steel. “In one weekend you will learn how to create lofts for any situation.”

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