You have the ability to sniff out a productivity tool that is created without the end-user in mind. No matter how advanced and mind-blowing a technology is, if it isn’t user-friendly, it will feel off.
For a product to be effective, it must feel like an extension of our psyche rather than force us to learn a new way of thinking. This is why UX theory boils down to a framework of design that puts human needs and experiences at the center of all design decisions.
Why is this so important for productivity? The tools we design for productivity are — quite simply — designed for people.
Better communication means better productivity
Imagine you are part of a team working on an important project; each person is brilliant in his own specialty, but communication between group members is weak. It goes without saying that the ability of the team to meet their goals will suffer.
The same is true for technology. Consider the software platform you use to perform your job as another member of the team. Like the other members of your team — if you cannot communicate with your tools effectively, productivity is lost.
UX design shapes the human-computer interaction (HCI), and this form of communication must be considered if the product is to be optimized for productivity. Focusing on what the product can do, rather than how the user will do so is a mistake.
There are many factors to consider when designing the UX of a product, but these three elements are especially important to productivity.
Due to the abundance of easy-to-use software targeted at the consumer, employees are becoming increasingly sensitive to the UX of their work sanctioned platforms.
It makes no sense that an employee should use consumer software with excellent UX outside of the office and struggle to make sense of the systems he needs to perform his job.
Usability is essentially about whether or not the user can accomplish the goal of the product. If the user feels like they need weeks of classroom training to complete routine processes — that is a bad sign. Complexity drains efficiency and ultimately decelerates competitiveness.
Flow refers to a state of being utterly concentrated and focused on a task, sometimes described as being “in the zone” — the pinnacle of productivity.
As anyone who has experienced it knows, this head-space is difficult to reach and very easy to lose. Any small interruption can disrupt this state of concentration.
Financial management service Think Money found in a study that the average employee wastes 759 hours a year due to distractions. While not all distractions can be avoided, software with good UX is software that supports flow by minimizing the interference.
In other words, good software should maximize our existing skills, similar to a pen, so that it feels invisible. When we pick up a pen it is our hand that is doing the writing, we almost forget that the pen is there.
The golden rule a UX designer should always consider when designing software is how he can allow his user to do more with fewer actions. When a user is required to do a lot of extra work to accomplish his goals or unnecessary clicks on a platform, there are more opportunities to mess it up, give up, lose interest, or become frustrated.
Ask yourself — how can I give my user a wealth of actionable information with minimal interaction?
In the digital age, we are constantly bombarded by information, anything that is not necessary is not only distracting — it becomes exhausting. A good interface should prioritize important information while making all possible options accessible.
Reducing clutter and creating an intuitive visual hierarchy to will improve the user’s experience and as a result his productivity.
Good UX is critical for business success
Examining these three UX factors are fundamental when designing for productivity. This is a psychological approach requiring objective observation, knowledge of your target audience and the ability to communicate on a human level.
Many companies are beginning to understand that UX isn’t just a nice-to-have feature anymore. IT organizations are now measured by adoption — how much they are actually used, meaning that the user experience is a critical element of any software.
The job of a UX designer is extremely important piece of the business world. Research shows that design-centric businesses that place more value on UX than their peers, achieve productivity gains and higher equity valuations.
Understanding the psychology of the user can also allow you, the designer, creator and/or manager to go through processes and make tasks experience as smooth and pleasant as possible, thus achieving optimal productivity.