Think Your App Is Beautiful? Not Without User Experience Design

DAVE FELDMAN discusses the evolution of design over the past 20 years of so, and it’s interesting reading:

Lately, every app is “beautiful”. If you read tech news, you’ve seen this pageant: Beautiful charts and graphs. Beautiful stories. Beautiful texting. Beautiful notebooks. Beautiful battery information.

Aspiring to beauty in our designs is admirable. But it doesn’t guarantee usability, nor is it a product or marketing strategy. Like “simple” and “easy” before it, “beautiful” says very little about the product. How many people, fed up with PowerPoint, cry out in frustration, “If only it were more beautiful”?

At best, the problem is simple: No one has figured out how to describe their product effectively. For example,Write, a note-taking app, describes itself as “a beautiful home for all your notes,” which doesn’t say much about why one might want it. Macworld describes it as “Easy Markdown Writing for Dropbox Users.” That’s both concise and specific: If you like Markdown and use Dropbox, you’ll read more…

But the digital display is not, in fact, our medium. The display, the keyboard, the mouse and the touchscreen are themselves artifacts that we’ve designed in order to work with our true medium: the user. Our medium is a strange, quirky one, evolved over millennia to interact with an environment that rarely matches the one we find him in, stuck with a heuristic way of thinking that sometimes produces incredible flashes of insight and sometimes steers him in entirely the wrong direction.

So today, perhaps Don Norman’s insight in Emotional Design is needed in reverse. Beauty is wasted when our products don’t address real user needs in a usable manner. Again, perception is subjective: The product gets uglier if it fails to meet user needs or becomes confusing. It’s like falling in love at first sight, then falling back out after a brief conversation. Your crush looks less attractive now; you can’t even recall why you were so captivated in the first place.

Indeed.  Usability is paramount, but the product needs to be useful and delightful as well to be truly successful.  Don’t sacrifice usability on the alter of beautiful.

Think Your App Is Beautiful? Not Without User Experience Design | Smashing Magazine.

Hat tip to Didier Daglinckx  for finding and scooping this article onto Learning Filemaker


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