Let’s face it – we all failed at one point or another in some project; however, don’t take this as a flaw, rather, embrace your failures to learn how to improve upon them. I like to take inspiration from the founders at Vooza who said something very inspirational – “Look at how much we’ve failed. That’s how smart we’ve become.” I’d label it as severely abnormal if one hasn’t experienced some sort of failure during the user experience process. The factor that distinguishes success from true failure is the acceptance of flaws as a means on which to improve. So, let’s talk about some ways in which UX may fail, and some ways to counter it.
First, let’s look at the symptoms of a failed UX process.
Failures in User Experience are often the result of miscommunication, and if there seems to be an outstanding amount of communication trouble and misunderstanding between customers, the service or product in question, or with customer support, then this is probably the result of a failed process somewhere along the line.
What are some ways to understand UX process failures in order to adapt them to successes?
First of all, are you sure you fully understand your demographic? One of the easiest mistakes to make is to misjudge a demographic, or completely disregard some key facet in the nature of the demographic. This misunderstanding can result in severely poor user experience, as the early game consoles of the mid 90s would demonstrate. These failed devices (such as the 3D0, CD-I and Jaguar) were an example of completely misjudged demographics, and in the gaming field, they are notoriously failed UX processes.
Second, how’s your presentation? Were you trying a little too hard to make your user experience overly flashy and attractive? Good aesthetics are important, but overly designing an interface or product label can result in customers becoming quickly frustrated with it. A good example of this would be Google Wave, a – for the most part – revolutionary Web service and protocol that was so complicated and convoluted that nobody even understood how to use it. Users don’t like to feel dumb, and if they are made to feel this way, there’s going to be some sad results on your part.
Are you updating and making changes too often? Updates and added features are wonderful things, but there is a time and a place for making these updates. If a user has to download updates for their software every other day, or there’s a new flavor of your product coming out every other week, this is going to result in overload and customers don’t like that. Users like feeling some sense of reliability and durability in any product or service they consume. Remember when soda companies began releasing 50 or 60 unique varieties of a specific line of beverage? It flooded the market and resulted in a very burst bubble..
There are of course many other possibilities and there are many other symptoms for potentially failed UX processes. The best solution, if you’re still not sure what the problem is, is to consult a user experience professional or consultant who can make more detailed suggestions as to why your UX process isn’t as strong as it should be.
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