The “WOW” Factor

As a user experience professional, I often find I need to provide ways of sharing work and thoughts with a larger audience.  Thus – this blog has begun.

 

How did I get into user experience?

I have been working in the user experience field for over 7 years.  From the beginning, I was always interested in the fact that companies and organizations have so many wonderful technologies – but many of these technologies, or the capabilities therein, are lost or go unused.  We can build so many amazing things – but these things get lost in the fray unless we can present them in a way that their users will understand and utilize.

Trashing software

How often do you end up trashing software or not going back to websites because they don’t help you?

This began my career in user experience.  I wanted to help teams bring their amazing work to light – to let their users bask in the glow of the time and effort put into building software.  For users to feel excited, delighted, enchanted by the software they  use.  “Delight” is a term talked about often these days in the user experience industry.  But not everything we build is meant to delight in the traditional sense.

Through my history in the user experience field, I have worked on back-office software.  Software that people need to get their daily jobs done.  Most people aren’t going to work looking or expecting delight.  They want to be productive.  They want to accomplish and excel at their job, and they don’t want the software they need to do it to get in their way.  So the first step of any group I have worked with has been removing those barriers – making sure we allow the user to be effective with the tools we are providing them.

Productivity

Back-office software must allow users to be productive

It is only once we have removed the barriers that we can look to provide the next level, the excitement.  When software is so in tune with what a user needs to do that it helps them do it better than they expected – or provides a widget/tool/capability that the user didn’t even know they needed at the point where they need it, that’s when we can say we’re really providing enchanting, delightful user experiences.  That’s the “WOW!” factor, and that’s what I strive for with every project I work on.

 

This blog

In this blog, I hope to provide some insight into how I help teams move from difficult to use to the “Wow” factor.  In sharing my work in progress, successes, and failures – I hope that you can learn how to pull some user experience practices into your daily work to improve the user experience of your projects.

 

– Cat Robson

Catherine

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