Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Useful vs. Usable

 "Form follows function - that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union." - Frank Lloyd Wright.

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like - Design is how it works.” - Steve Jobs

As a UX designer, to what extent do you defining what the system does as opposed to just how users interact with it?  You can see the implications of this question exemplified by a quote I heard somewhere The quote goes something like this:
If you can give me an application that can accurately predict tomorrow's stock market, I'll put up with the grossest usability issues, even a command line interface. On the other hand, if you give me an application that tells me what already happened on the market, it better have better UX than the one I currently use or I won't switch. 

If anyone knows to whom this quote should be attributed, I'd be grateful to know. I'd like to hear more from this person. It says to me that while good design is important, without useful functionality, it's not sufficient. As Frank Lloyd Write says, form and functionality need to dovetail to provide the UX. 

A few thoughts around providing appropriate functionality:
  • gather market or user research to validate that the primary functionality is seen as useful
  • perform task analysis with users to understand their needs completely. Prioritize those tasks and ensure functionality is provided for the most important tasks. Focus your UX efforts on the support for the most important tasks
  • Where is the competition in terms of functionality? Do you compete with new or improved features or do you provide a better experience for already established features?

No comments:

Post a Comment