UX is something funny, you can get a lot of lessons about it watching things that have nothing to do with software or technology, in this post I’ll share with you a lesson that I observed in my daily life, in particular, buying cheap stuff from China. Please note that this post is not sponsored by Rolex or China 😬
Watches and watches
More than one year ago, I bought this cheap watch from a Chinese website, it cost me 5 bucks and it has no fancy functions, not a thoughtful design, it’s not very precise and it isn’t even waterproof.
A Rolex, on the other hand, is made more like a jewel than a watch, and it’s design, elegance, and beauty are recognized by most people and is certainly very cool, with their price easily reaching more than $10K.
Here’s my point
While the differences between my watch and a Rolex are huge, the reason mine is better boils down to my objective while using it: I want to know the time. And this simple fact changes everything.
You see, as a time-showing device, my clock does a pretty decent job, if it says it’s 5 AM, although I know it can be anything between 4:58 to 5:02, it’s not gonna make a huge difference in my life. And it has other nice features too: it has a chronometer, an alarm, shows the date, and even has a little light so that you can see the time in a dark environment! The Rolex - when it comes to showing the time - does basically the same thing, if it says it’s 5 AM, it probably is, and if you show it to someone, they’ll probably think you’re rich, but, having my objective in mind, it has a ridiculously terrible cost-benefit ratio, 10 thousand dollars to do something just as good as a 5 dollars timepiece do.
What does it have to do with UX?
The answer is simple, you gotta make things simple for the user, make your app so that the people who use it get the best value for the least effort possible. Think of things as if you were buying a watch, why would you get the expensive one if the cheapest do the job just as good? Why does your user have to fill this big form, give you tons of unnecessary data if they could give just their name and the app could work just as good? Why do they have to type their ZIP code if you can infer it from the GPS?
The takeaway from this is, a great UX is made by focusing on enabling your user to do what they want to do, it is made with a goal in mind, it has to be practical, down to small details. The focus on practicality can be the difference between a happy user or a 1-star-because-it’s-the-minimum review on the applications store.