UX Newsletter: It’s like the more choices we come across, the more problems we see

“Sources estimate that an adult makes about 35,000 remotely conscious decisions each day.” [Source: Roberts Edu]  Part of me is shocked by that number, but the other part thinks it’s actually more. We all face an exorbitant amount of choices every single day in our technologically advanced, fast-moving society and it takes its toll. 

Choice is one of our greatest powers, but it can also be a tremendous source of exhaustion. Decision fatigue is alive and well in the age of iPhones, wearable tech and augmented reality. Many people believe it’s easier to simplify their choices by limiting their options out the gate to prevent even more mental strain. For these minimalists, removing choice works extremely well. 

On the other hand, I would argue that in this world of endless choice, the weight is on the services to provide better information at the start to allow for a choice to be simple and stress-free. Designing for decisions is at the heart of every UX designer’s purpose.

Volume 4

In this month’s newsletter we’ll explore how you can design strategic user interfaces with approachable language and prepare customers for easy decisions by knowing which problems to solve at that moment. 

Aesthetics and strategy

Consistency, accessibility, and simplicity are all ways that we as designers can improve the customers access to desired information and expedite their actions. In The 12 Do’s and Don’ts of Web Design, Nick Babich of Adobe walks us through a solid list of best practices that help streamline the customer journey, increase customer understanding of information provided and allow customer trust and brand confidence to grow. 

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The purpose in the problem

Designing for customers is not as easy as asking them what they want. In his TED Talk “Choice, Happiness and Spaghetti Sauce”, Malcolm Gladwell walks us through the contributions of Howard Moskowitz to the food industry and how he revolutionized how businesses look at developing products with customer’s needs in mind. “A critically important step in understanding our own desires and tastes is to realize that we cannot always explain what we want, deep down.” With qualitative user testing and customer service feedback we strive to listen to the customer’s needs and wants. But it’s when we combine this information with quantitative data and view the effects on the entire customer journey that we are able to identify more intuitive and nuanced opportunities.

Watch the full video

Humanity in design

In her new book Conversational Design, Erika Hall explains that the interactions between customer and digital interface should not feel robotic or simply transactional. “Interactive systems should evoke the best qualities of living human communities—active, social, simple, and present—not passive, isolated, complex, or closed off.” As texting becomes the more constant form of communication in our world, people are growing more aware of how their technological conversations have become human and complicated. How do we guide customers through a digital experience that feels as human as an in-store interaction? By adding empathic qualities to our machine-interactions, customers develop a firmer awareness of a brand’s personality and values which can lead to a higher level of trust and loyalty.

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Choices shape innovation

In this concise article: The Customer Experience Begins with User Experience, Ben McCraw describes how a customer’s interactions and decisions made within the use of a product can highlight opportunities missed and needed. “Post launch iteration is necessary and important. The team can benefit from user feedback and reviews and make necessary revisions from there. The cycle of iteration is continuous.” It’s our job to pay attention and find ways to meet these opportunities needs through creative problem-solving.

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Featured UX Book

Don’t Make Me Think (Revisited) by Steve Krug

In the world of web design and development it’s not easy to find books that stand the test of time, but Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug is one of the best resources for anyone interested in improving customer experience.

“Since Don’t Make Me Think was first published in 2000, hundreds of thousands of Web designers and developers have relied on usability guru Steve Krug’s guide to help them understand the principles of intuitive navigation and information design. Witty, commonsensical, and eminently practical, it’s one of the best-loved and most recommended books on the subject.”

Get the book today!

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The UX Newsletter is a monthly email that serves up my favorite UX articles. Each month I feature 4 articles or videos and share great tutorials for those interested in learning more.

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Feature Image is a collage sourced from various images found on these Pinterest Boards.

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