Why is UX Important?
There is this game, and it was also an example that shows you how UX is more than just apps. Do, this game, Final Fantasy 15, it was in development from 2006 onward, right? And it just went nowhere, right? It seems like every couple years, they had a new demo but no game, right? And the reason for that is because at the time, Square Enix was completely siloed in itself, right? It was this big company where everybody was just debating internally for how they think this game should be, right? And that's why it went nowhere until the company almost ran out of money, and then they... They picked their best folks, the ones that did Kingdom Hearts and put them on the game. And the first thing that they did, was go out and ask gamers, right? What are the things that you associate with the franchise? What are the things that you think have gone wrong over the last couple years, right? So even though in game design they don't call it UX, they started applying that user-centered focus, right? An...
d then they started shipping demos and after the demos, they got feedback on the demos, and made adjustments, like big adjustments, to the game based off of those. Like they changed a whole control scheme of the game after they got that feedback from people. And that's something that was particularly unheard of in the games industry at the time, right? Because they still had that old mantra from, I guess, the Super Nintendo days where you, yeah, you shipped out that thing and then it was done, right? You never worked on it again. But you know, after they started applying those processes, they finished the game almost from scratch in two years. And that's the power of this process. Because it focuses people. Another big reason why... UX is important is, you'll see this a lot in big companies, too, they'll start adding too many features. And adding more features to a point is cool, right? It really does make people happier, but there is a point where you get past that and where adding more features just confuses people coming to your app or website, right? An example that I'm thinking of off the top of my head is, there's this navigation app where you can drive around and then suddenly it gives you notifications, and says, hey, you just got 50 drivers points or something for crossing this bridge. I'm like, dude, I'm just trying to get to Whole Foods, I don't care about points. And that's like, at some point it gets ridiculous and people just start adding so many things, and then after a while, it can get detrimental the whole experience because people can't find the thing that they came to the app for to begin with. But again, you can't really fault organizations for doing that because... The market is changing faster than big companies can keep up with, right? For a long time, adding another feature or two did make people more happy and did lead to more sales, right? But again, over the last 20 years, and as we've moved to products that you can update so quickly, there's this... This dangerous tendency develop to just add, add, add, add stuff. While at the same time, because we're on the internet now, it's much, much easier for people to switch to something else. So... That's not how you retain loyalty. The way you retain loyalty is like with the ketchup example I showed you earlier, right? By creating products that make people feel as if you just read their minds. And you didn't read their minds, you just took a close look at how they use things and then design towards that. Another reason this is important is because remember, we're not designing for 1,000 people anymore, we're designing for a billion people. And... If you've ever hung out with your friends and tried to figure out what restaurant to go to, you know how hard it is to get consensus with even five people, right? Now imagine trying to design something for a billion people and trying to get something that everybody likes, and satisfies everybody's needs. It's impossible. So... That's why instead, you need to look at each group more closely and see what their goals are, and then build something for each one of those groups. And you know, I mean, yeah, a counterargument you could make is well, the market is small if you just focus on just one group. But really, we got seven billion people on the planet, right? If you design something for a specific group, that's still gonna be plenty of revenue that you can generate. Now, okay. This all sounds really obvious when I say it out loud and I put it on a screen, right? So... Why do so many companies struggle with this? Well, there's lots of reasons. But if you bring it back to just the internet industry, I think the two, big reasons are, the internet revolution was spearheaded by technologists. There was no design in the beginning and... Technologists, their primary relationship is with the technology that they work with, not with people, right? And I'm not knocking that at all, right? I come from a technology background, it's a fun space to be in. But if you're in that space, you're so intimately familiar with the tech, that it's very easy to forget that most people aren't that familiar with it. And they also don't care to be familiar with it like that, right? They're just like, look, I need to pick up my daughter from soccer practice and then I need to organize these dinner plans for the weekend with our friends, and your app is just super annoying, let me switch to another one. So that's one big reason, right? This technology focus that a lot of companies have, even the very, very big companies that are hailed for their good design. At the core, there's still a serious technology focus. I think another reason is that a lot of companies, talking to users is hard, right? You need to find them, and then you need to go out and talk to them. I mean, it's all kinds of effort. It's much easier to just stay in your office and speculate, right? And there's no direct penalty for doing that either, right? Your boss usually won't penalize you for it. So then you have this emphasis on... People think only from the internal perspective, so they understand their business, right? They understand how to use technology as work. And then they explain it in terms that other experts understand. And... But the way you wanna do it, is first think about... I mean, this is something that Apple does all the time, right? They're amazingly good at this, even though they're a huge company. They never use technology for technology's sake. Right? They're always thinking about how can this technology impact people. Right? I mean that's the best example, cause people always say, ooh, Apple knocked off Google, Google launches first, right? Like the great example of this, for example, was Google put near-field communication. Near-field communication is this technology that lets you put your phone next to another phone and then they pick up on each other. Google put that into phones in 2012, then Apple rode it out in like 2014, but they rolled it out with Apple Pay. And they talked to grocery stores and made sure that there were partnerships, that you could actually use it in real-life scenarios, right? And that's the difference, right? Apple doesn't just put in a new technology to be like, hey, we got the new technology, buy our new phone. It's just like, hey, this technology is here and this is how it can impact your life. So they're always experience first. And... What I love about this user-focused process, is that in every group discussion that you have, like in a meeting somewhere, you can always just... When people start giving their personal opinions for how they think it should be, you can always just refer back to the people that we're designing for, right? Does this make sense for the people that we're serving? Okay, I think that's an awesome idea but do you think that that's something that... That is good for the people that we're serving? How can we get more information about these people that we're serving? Just always (snaps fingers) moving the direction back in that way, helps... Focus the discussions, and if you don't have that, a lot of times when you're in meetings, the loudest voice or the highest-ranking voice will win, right? But... Actually a lot of times, the highest-ranking voice doesn't want to win. The highest-ranking voice doesn't want to win, they want to... Want the solution that makes the business the most money, right? So if you can like, with this user focus, argue that the solution will bring more revenue into the business, you've done a great service to the business and you've managed to focus on the users and make them happier as well. So... The core disciplines of UX. And I know that if I just throw a slide with a bunch of content on there, it'll be confusing the folks, but I'm actually gonna drill down on each of these in more greater detail over the next hour. So, but these are disciplines. You have user research, you can probably imagine what that is. Alright? Content strategy, which is figuring out, okay, how can we get the right content to the right people at the right time? Information architecture, okay, how do we organize this content? Interaction design, my personal favorite subject where we talk about, okay, how is this thing gonna behave? The visual design, how does it look? And testing, how is it performing? So you can translate that into understanding, information, structuring, behavior, aesthetics, and measurements.