User Experience & User Interface: Enhancing the Digital Experience

A set of people are trying to humanize technology interface with people, better known as User Experience (UX) experts

User Interface

Technology came across as just a little short of magic. It brought things to life things which seemed bizarre.Then slowly it seeped into our behavioral and emotional lives without us realizing it, and in no time it became so much a part, that we almost started feeling handicapped in the absence of it.

As I pen this, it almost feels that I am talking about technology as being a living thing. We, at times, get so engaged in our digital worlds that we forget that the world around does also exist in real tangible form. While this is increasingly becoming a problem in itself where social scientists are trying to bring back the real world to people, there is another set of people who are trying to humanize technology interface with people, better known as User Experience (UX) experts.

With time the awe of technology has gone down and has moved towards expectancy and demand. Gone are the days when we used to switch on our modems and pray to get connected. Today connectivity and services built around it,has become a hygiene. This change in behavior of humans has put enormous pressure on digital innovators to not only look at what they can bring to the world but also think about how to present them to their diverse audiences.

Companies deeply embedded on tech innovations often forget that humans are built of habits, emotions, relationships and loads of personal preferences. From the color of toothbrush’s, to breakfast, from music to friends, there are so many preferences that Iwill probably run out of time and patience listing them.

This very world of ours today is bombarded with the intervention of technology or the so called digital world. It has permeated far too much in our lives and most of the time we are left equating the efficiency of such interventions emotionally rather than rationally. A bad experience of technology is unpardonable today.

You name a need and there is an app for it, from helping you wake-up, to the time you go back to sleep and even while you are asleep there is digital intervention working alongside. Its all good till it fits into your lives and gives you perceivable benefits. But not every time a product that comes out in the market succeeds in delivering the right experience or ends up solving the problem. It is becoming tougher to build digital products and sustain its existence as the users have become extremely critical about giving them permission to intervene their lives.

We as humans have always been very discrete about our choices which are primarily based on our past experiences and habits. As a user interface/user experience designer our role has changed from just being the provider of beautiful looking interfaces to making sure that any proposition which involves humans on the other side is sensitized enough.

User experience as a discipline has its roots firmly embedded in human psychology, and behavioral sciences. User Experience design is the backbone of all product innovation in companies and is the sole discipline which helps them differentiates from competition. For us, user experience is the very basis of evolution.

Historically, building products around user experiences has always been a part of our evolution journey. Whether it was the Stone Age man trying to perfect his tool to kill for meat or be it the iPhone’s solid state button working in tandem with the new taptic engine to give you precise tactile feedback, its all built on the want of great user experience.

With complex technological advancements, organizations often forget that there is a human being at the end of this chain consuming this innovation, using it to simplify his life.

Technology changes rapidly, but humans don’t. This should be the very base of any experience design exercise. Behavior change in humans happens at a very slow pace and any product which understands and gives allowance to learn, adapt and delight the audience is on a winning path.

User centric design methodologies are built around four simple steps - Discover, Define, Build and Test.It’s cyclical, which means we need to be continuously involved in this circle to bring about a valuable change in people’s behavior. We have witnessed large companies struggling to find the right path and small start ups disrupting markets with simple interventions. The reason is that large companies become rigid in their beliefs and their legacy does not allow them to disrupt.

From the uselessness of the 5th blade on a razor of well known shaving blade company to highly inefficient Indian railways website,we suffer from bad user insight and lack of user understanding. Disruptors like Cleartrip and Dollar shave club have shown the world that working on simple user insights can bring about a big change and alter the direction of the market.

To sum up the role of User experience - All great products are built on the backbone of great technology, but all successful products are built on the pillar of great user insight and experience.

Tanay Kumar, is the CEO and Creative Director for Fractal Ink Design Studio Pvt. Ltd.

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