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"A gorgeous app with poor UX isn’t a gorgeous app - it’s an invitation to frustration"

A great post from someone who would know -- he points out that none of the individual tips are groundbreaking, but these are all good things to get to know better (that is, just repeating what he writes isn't enough). Note that to follow any of these tips effectively you have to learn about your users and their needs, their situation; applying Slack's onboarding to your, say, cooking app, would be a disaster. But I strongly agree with his central thesis that good design isn't making something look good, but work well.

4 Replies

Will Phillips
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Will Phillips Entrepreneur
Design Partner at SavvyPCI LLC
Couldn't agree more. I like to step back and almost treat the experience like a conversation between the person, and the action they want to accomplish. It's a dialogue that unconsciously happens, but when you can identify this dialogue, map it out, refine it, truly understand it, then you can design and build something truly enjoyable. Thanks for sharing.
Rajesh Soundar
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Rajesh Soundar Entrepreneur
VP Sales & Marketing I Advisor I Consultant I Entrepreneur
Thanks for posting this thread and I also couldn't agree more with both Daniel and Will's thoughts. For the past 4 years I've worked with brands large and small designing apps to meet the needs of end users, both from a UI as well as functional perspective. In the past, I've seen apps designed with a gorgeous UI, but the apps met with poor usage as they didn't truly align to how an end user would leverage the application or provide value the end user could see.

It's best to whiteboard out the flow of the application, from beginning to end, choreographing a natural flow and then adding the UI elements to support this. In the end, successful mobile applications are intuitive, simple to navigate (versus a website with nested menus and complexity), and provide some functional value.

This whiteboarding process is really important as it will reduce iterations and scope creep, and you can ultimately decide what look and feel elements and features to include in the first version as minimum viable product, and what to reserve for V2.

Thanks again for sharing.
Daniel Drew Turner
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Interaction Designer, Xerox PARC
Thanks for the comments above.

The harder part, founders and would-be founders, is to adjust your process. I'd say 90+% of the requests I see from startups is of the "I have an idea and just want you to implement it" or "just take my slides and make them elegant" or "I know the market" or "we don't have time to research". I've tracked all of the ones who tell me this; all of them fail quickly.

So, in practice, think ahead, and realize user research is a vital part of the design process (where "design"!="how it looks" but "design"=="how it works") if you want to build something people will use. I'll quote a senior design exec: "research isan inevitable part of the process that they will end up paying for anyway, so they might as well be involved in it from the beginning ("it's going to happen because it's a fundamental part of the design process, I guarantee you if you think you've had designers working for you doing no research you've really just had designers lying to you about their research habits and claiming their research insights as their own brilliance.")"
Stan Podolski
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Stan Podolski Entrepreneur • Advisor
CEO at Nimble Aircraft.
Can't agree more, the UI/UX is one of the most important parts of your app. You don't have that, nobody is going to see what a gorgeous idea you have inside

So in my case I always ask to start with mockups first where we have figured out what user does and where user goes after clicking on a button. It is not even a design, but the userflow
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