The 7 deadly sins of digital user experience
To successfully compete in today’s digital world, companies must design user experiences that resonate with customers and keep engaged. Effective marketing depends on a seamless user experience. However, in the race to design smart capabilities, many businesses commit one or more “deadly sins” that can compromise the growth and viability of their business. It is critical to first understand common transgressions in order to avoid them.
LUST: It’s easy to lust over design and fall prey to “shiny objects;” however, we cannot lead with a solution or feature without first understanding the problem. Set design principles upfront to ensure judicious decision-making - and always stay true to what’s best for the user.
GLUTONY: Over-indulgence often manifests itself in the design process as the dreaded “feature creep.” Projects that start with a clear focus can quickly find their UX suffering as new content is added. One of the best defenses against gluttony is to embrace the “mobile first” approach. Don’t do something just because you can. Place the user at the center and set aside personal preferences.
GREED: This is also a sin of excess, but in this case its focus is on material wealth. The challenge of quantifying the return on investment of a good user experience results in UX often sitting low on the list of priorities. But companies like Apple, Amazon and Uber are clear indications of the value user experiences bring to a brand. Focus your efforts on building a culture of design and customer-centered thinking in your organization.
SLOTH: Laziness at any step of the software development lifecycle can lead to usability issues or broken interaction. Companies often release products without fully testing assurance and usability. The diversity of device types, screen sizes and technologies means you must never stop testing - continue to validate your UX design to ensure you have a full understanding of how your product or website functions.
WRATH: Don’t ignore the wrath of your users. Listen to them, be emphatic and trust that their behavior should inform your design decisions regardless of your personal intuition or preference. Understanding customer frustrations is the first step in fixing your UX.
ENVY: Influence from others can result in poor user experiences when applied to your own design challenge. It can also stifle your ability to push boundaries. While it’s perfectly acceptable to be influenced by others, find your own groove, differentiate your experience from competitors and use what you’ve seen as inspiration to push boundaries and innovate.
PRIDE: Don’t be too proud that you don’t consider making changes in response to an ever-evolving market. Don’t think you’ve designed something that’s foolproof – you can always optimize. There is no such thing as a finished product.
With a better understanding of common missteps, businesses will be poised to deliver better user experiences that customers want. By partnering with experts in the field, companies can ensure they’re avoiding design sins that could cost them users…and potentially, their business.
Thelton McMillian is the founder & CEO of Oakland, CA-based Comrade, a design and strategy agency that creates digital products and services like mobile and Web apps to help businesses improve their user experience. Thelton can be reached at [email protected].
Giving efficiency the full throttle at NASCAR
The NASCAR organization has long been synonymous with speed, agility and innovation. And so by extension, partnerships at NASCAR hold a similar reputation. One such partner for the organization has been CDW – a leading multi-brand provider of information technology solutions to businesses, government, education and healthcare customers in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. CDW provides a broad array of products and services ranging from hardware and software to integrated IT solutions such as security cloud hybrid infrastructure and digital experience. Customer need is the driving force at CDW, and the company helps clients by delivering integrated services solutions that maximize their technology investment. So how does CDW help their customers achieve their business goals? Troy Okerberg, Field Sales Manager - North Florida at CDW adds “We strive to provide our customers with full stack expertise, helping them design, orchestrate and manage technologies that drive their business outcomes.”
NASCAR acquired International Speedway Corporation (ISC) in 2019, merging its operations into one, new company moving forward. The merger represents an important step forward for NASCAR as the sport creates a unified vision to embrace its long history of exciting, family-oriented racing experiences while developing strategic growth initiatives that will drive the passion of core fans and attract the next generation of race fans. CDW has been instrumental in bringing the two technology environments together to enable collaboration and efficiency as one organization. Starting with a comprehensive analysis of all of NASCAR’s vendors, CDW created a uniform data platform for the data center environment across the NASCAR-ISC organization. The IT partner has also successfully merged the two native infrastructure systems together, while analyzing, consulting and providing an opportunity to merge Microsoft software licenses as well.
2020 turned into a tactical year for both organizations with the onset of the pandemic and CDW has had to react quickly to the changing scenario. Most of the initial change included building efficiencies around logistics, like equipment needing to be delivered into the hands of end users who switched to a virtual working environment almost overnight. CDW’s distribution team worked tirelessly to ensure that all customers could still access the products that they were purchasing and needed for their organizations throughout the COVID timeframe. Okerberg adds that today, CDW continues to optimize their offering by hyper-localizing resources as well as providing need-based support based on the size and complexity of their accounts. Although CDW still operates remotely, the company commits to adapting to the changing needs of their clients, NASCAR in particular. Apart from the challenges that COVID-19 brought to the organization, another task that CDW had been handed was to identify gaps and duplicates in vendor agreements that the two former single-entity organizations had in place and align them based on services offered. CDW further helps identify and provide the best solution from a consolidation standpoint of both hardware and software clients so that the new merged organization is equipped with the best of what the industry has to offer.