Everything is UX or UX is Everything

Lately I’m thinking about user experience in a much more focused way than I have before. Maybe in part it’s because I sit next to Oscar, a UX genius, but mainly I know it’s because I fundamentally believe that experience is where it’s at. An idea is good- and it’s true- you can’t even begin without a great idea- but the truth is that how someone experiences that idea is far more important than how great the idea itself was when we agency people first thought of it, beneath a neon light-lit paper mache bull, in our case.

I spent a lot of time at SxSW in panels about bullet-proof user experience and while most of them spoke specifically about online experience- I think it can and should be taken further. It doesn’t matter what medium you begin with- if you aren’t providing people an experience- you aren’t relevant. Period. And if you aren’t providing your user a good, nay a stellar, user experience, sadly you’re part of the majority. Just one in a million people/brands/agencies, simply adding to the clutter that advertising is prone to create.

So how do we create experiences that change people’s lives? Google does a nice job outlining their formula for flawless user experience here (Thanks Jeff Johnson) and I just want to touch on a few of them.

3. Simplicity is Powerful How often do we forget this? Remind yourself- some of the best brands in the world, (think Apple, think Google) known for the best user interfaces and experiences, are so incredibly simple. It’s not about making the coolest/craziest looking thing. It’s about designing interactions that are useful- and uncomplicated. Simple.

6. Dare to Innovate Try something new. Freaking experiment. It won’t kill you. (Probably) And/But do it for the purpose of helping your users. There is no other reason.

7. Plan for Today’s and Tomorrow’s Business “Those Google products that make money strive to do so in a way that is helpful to users. To reach that lofty goal, designers work with product teams to ensure that business considerations integrate seamlessly with the goals of users. Google never tries to increase revenue from a product if it would mean reducing the number of Google users in the future.”

10. Add a Human Touch (Not to correct Google, but I would have called this “ASK THE PEOPLE”, but anyway…) Talk to your user in a way that makes sense. In a way that is appealing. And for goodness sakes, don’t plan or build anything that you don’t have real user feedback on. The number one desire of our little advertising hearts should be that we truly want user feedback- in an ongoing way- so we can better the product, iteration by iteration.

And as a final note, added by me, GSDMer Sam Bennett…focus on purpose. The word is becoming ubiquitous at this point, but there is a reason for it, it has value. You’ll see throughout Google’s list that they always go back to making sure what they create benefits to users…even if it stands in the way of increasing revenue (as seen in point 7). That’s because their purpose, their mission, is completely user-centric. Their mission is to organize the world’s information (for people- and often free of charge)…each product they create, each experience they design, ladders back to that in a useful way…for their users.

Other titles considered:
– Minimalism
– Experience, Experience, Experience
– Keep it Simple Stupid
– I love you Google

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