Design isn’t just for looks, it affects how your customers interact with your business, product, and service.
Are you making them happy, and empowering them to succeed?
Or are your customers confused, frustrated, and looking to spend money with your competitor?
Don’t run them off! You can leverage Design to pull people in and not scare them away.
There are many great examples of User Experience design problems (that are costing big name companies money) everywhere. Let’s discuss a couple of them, & how you can one up the big-dogs.
Examples Of User Experience Design Issues You May Have Seen
(That are driving customers away!)
Ex: Yahoo Mail
Here’s the Yahoo Mail standard page.
For the most part, it’s pretty similar to a lot of other email clients.
Your standard sorting functions are at the top left of the main email window.
(Delete, Move, Spam, & More)
Clicking MORE gives you, well… MORE options.
Mostly related to marking functions. It makes perfect sense to have email marking settings listed here, right?
There are Sort Functions at the top right of the main window.
But here’s the kicker. There are MORE SETTINGS at the bottom of this window.
What’s wrong with that?
Well they aren’t solely for sorting emails. They contain other settings needed in an email client, but how on Earth would someone know that they would be located there? Under the sort by date settings, at the very bottom…
Not exactly the most logical location for general email settings, eh?
Clicking “Sort By Date” and then clicking “More Settings” at the bottom of that menu gives us our other general email settings. DOES THIS LOCATION MAKE SENSE TO YOU?
I mean, is that the first place you would instinctively look for the general email settings? Probably not. Maybe most would look for a gear icon at the VERY TOP of the email window?
Ex #1: Top Right by the Home & User links
Ex #2: Top Left by Email/Contacts/Calendar/Notes/Messenger Icons
(Just Above “Compose”, but Below the Yahoo Mail logo)
Maybe Yahoo had a good reason for putting general email settings there, I don’t know.
But being a user of their product I found it a little more than frustrating the first time I was looking for them. Wouldn’t take much to fix that problem, and it’s quite common to solve in one of the two ways I listed above.
This faux-pas could be the determining factor in someone looking for a new email client to avoid Yahoo. They could be losing users to their competition!
THAT’S MONEY BEING LEFT ON THE TABLE GUYS! And it’s totally within their control to fix it, and improve the experience their customers have with their brand.
Don’t make the same mistake Yahoo did, hire a skilled Designer to guide you in the User Experience journey.
General email settings are also available under the gear at the top right (Ex #2).
Woo! Additionally, you can still get to them from the bottom of “Sort By Date” menu.
The (in)famous iTunes User Experience
iTunes has been changing up their interface quite a lot in the last few years.
Sometimes it’s a good fix, making the screen less crowded with options & more intuitive where to find what you’re looking for, even if you’re a first time user.
Other times though, it’s a mess.
Problematic Design Choice #1
Like when they got rid of the main menu bar at the top left of the screen. (File/Edit/View/etc)
Cleaning less often used menus/settings/etc off the main screen area is a great practice, it frees up visual “real-estate” to be used by more commonly used functions.
(Or make the most used functions larger than lesser used ones)
But taking the Main File Menu off?
A lot of people still use that to add music from CD’s or other drives to their iTunes Library.
Unless I’m just an old fogey who still buys CD’s and doesn’t buy music online.
Granted, that is a possibility. I still wouldn’t advise taking it off, it doesn’t take up much room, and most users won’t know how to get it to show up when they need it!
(This obviously creates tension and frustration with the iTunes experience…)
Problematic Design Choice #2
A few versions back iTunes changed how your devices show once synced. (iPhone/iPad/iPod)
Before devices would show up docked to the left side of the screen, and you could eject them with one click (there was an eject icon right beside them). You could also see everything on the device (playlists, etc) tiled neatly under the device name.
Now devices only show up as an icon.
You have to click them (top left of main window) before you can disconnect, see what is on the device, or even see the device name.
The new look is a little cleaner visually, but it comes at a cost. It’s less convenient.
May not sound like much, but if you have a smaller capacity device, you might be switching playlists and songs out constantly. Those extra steps might tick you off after a while. 😉
Or if you have several devices (Ex: iPhone, iPad, and an iPod), it’s less obvious which you need to click on to update.
I still give both Yahoo and iTunes kudos though for working on their offerings, and making improvements in some respects.
Why should I worry about User Experience Design?
Not leveraging design to improve the experience your customers have with your Brand is COSTING YOU MONEY!
User Experience Design is meant to make things INTUITIVE.
So people will instinctively know how to make sense of whatever it is you show them. Maybe it’s easy to explain to someone, but you don’t always have the luxury of showing someone how to use it one-on-one.
Websites, ATM/Touch Interfaces, Phone/Tablet Apps, Games, Programs, and more all MUST be self explanatory.
If someone can’t figure it out on their own, they’ll likely get frustrated and leave your offering for a competitor’s that makes sense to them.
Websites/Touch Interfaces, and all of the above vastly benefit from: less clicks (or touches) to reach the most important content/interact with you. Making it as easy as possible to contact you (hello web-forms!), and sorting your pages/content as logically as possible.
You often only have a couple seconds to hook someone to read/interact further.
If you don’t get that done, they’ll go somewhere else.
The same concepts for good User Experience Design goes for everything your Brand uses to interact with customers.
Flyers, Posters, Signage, Postcards, Newspaper/Magazine Ads, Vinyl Decals, Logo Design, Banners, and virtually everything else.
– Do they get the point across quickly & efficiently?
– Are they empowering your Customers by showing how you can solve their problem?
– Do they make it incredibly simple and easy for your customers to contact you?
If not, your design is just decoration. (Quality Design isn’t just Decoration, it Solves Problems)
It could be serving a purpose and help drive your mission.
I’d love to work with you to improve your Branding approach to improve the way you visually communicate to your customers.
I am Rusty Marnell, a Graphic Designer here in Amarillo, TX.
Designing innovative Brands for people all over the US and beyond is what I do best.
I love working with passionate people who are committed to making a positive impact in the world. Our time is incredibly short on Earth, we have to make our impact NOW.
(Check out: Time – Stop Freakin’ Wasting It!)
I’d be honored to have the opportunity to contribute something impactful to the world with you.
One Man Workhorse
Call: (806) 672-8997
Facebook: Octane Studios
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