UX Is More Than Just "Easy To Use"

Some people might tell you that a good product with good UX is something that is easy to use. But my experience tells differently.

I have talked about the importance of context in my previous blog post. so this post is more like an elaborated version of that post, that context is still important. But we are going to take a look at the specific advice people have been sharing all the time. You must have heard it in instagram posts, or even your boss says it.

But I hate to break it to you, but sometimes, a good UX is more than just easy to use. Easy to use might be applicable to your project but that's only one box checked.

Question is : how many boxes are there in order for something to be called good UX ?

I have talked about good design. So let's talk about good UX only.

There are actually many things that can impact a user's experience, and what they perceive to be good may not necessarily only about how easy something is.

For example, if you refer to user experience interaction model below, ease of use does belong to the During process here.

There are 3 difference process we can draw conclusion of :

  1. Before

  2. During

  3. After

So if UX is all about ease of use, that only covers the During. What about before and after user interact with the product?

And again, it also depends on the main goal of the product. Is it meant to make user use it easily? or is there a reason why the product not meant to be challenging for user to do- for example a game that makes user think really hard on how to solve riddles. If this game has ease of use, then it is probably considered not a good UX, everyone can solve the riddle! But the game actually aim for other type of UX here which is probably to make user feel the sense of achievement , and it emphasise on the After part of the interaction.

Some products may have ease of use and accompanied with every other things, but some products may also have no ease of use.

Let's also not forgetting that products have different learning curve. So, easy is relative. Some people meant "easy" as in "even kids can use it" or "even strangers who never interacted with this product find it easy to use", which can apply to some products, but not necessarily all.

Let's take Adobe Photoshop as an example. Me, as a designer who breathes Photoshop still cannot accomplish several tasks with it. That doesn't mean Photoshop is a badly designed product, does it? (I am not saying Photoshop is flawless, but it generally checks many boxes compared to other photo editor softwares out there, and oh its functionality!). If you want to learn Photoshop, sometimes you do have to learn from other people , watch video tutorials, read books, enroll in a class. This, is Photoshop's learning curve. It is not that easy to use and certainly difficult to master. But it is still considered a good UX kind of product. It helps a lot of people, it even created a whole lot of professions and bring income source for many. So, no, I don't think Photoshop is a bad UX kind of product.

Now we have learned why photoshop has good UX. The next question is, what clarifies whether a product has good or bad UX ?

The answer is, it depends.

What is the product meant to be built for? What kind of experience they want user to have and are they achieved (and even achieved more than just the minimum requirement) ?

Let's take another example, this time in a comparison.

Let's say Toyota Avanza, the car that has 3 rows and can fit many people. The price is not super expensive and many people can buy it. It also serves the function, it makes you get to point A to point B , I mean, that's what a car supposed to do, right ?

But why do some people still want to buy , say, Ferrari Portofino ? It also gets user from point A and point B but It only can fit few people!

Both are cars but they certainly have different UX requirement from the company itself.

A Toyota probably does not really aim the prestigious possession feel (although some users feel prestigious when they own a Toyota). But Ferrari is aiming for that kind of experience.

Although both companies aim in the "During" part of the experience, there is still big difference between them. Both have good UX. Toyota generally makes car that serves its function, it helps many people to own a car while Ferrari makes people have a sense of achievement and pride by just owning it.

Both companies also have different "Before" part of experience.

Toyota wants to be perceived as reliable, good to use, not so expensive to maintain.

While Ferrari wants to be seen as prestigious and that you have to really work hard to earn it.

Let's also talk about the ease of use of car. Kids can't really use it. Users who never interact with car might not be able to use it and then cause accidents. Many people need to take proper car driving course to actually learn how to drive a car and they can only drive it for real when they have a license which they need to take a test to get it.

I wouldn't say car is easy to use. But it's not a bad UX kind of product.

(fun fact, did you know that the mechanism on how to drive a car hasn't changed that much in the last 100 years?)

Now that you understand different aspects that may make/ break the UX, let's take a look at some more aspects :

1. Image Perception

2. Speed of processing

3. Speed of achieving a goal

4. Emotion while anticipating

5. Expectation and motive

6. Remembrance

7. Aesthetics

...and many more

So, no, good UX is not just easy to use.


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