Contributed by Amanda Peterson, Enlightened Digital
Successful UX can be hard to define, but at its core, it first and foremost considers the needs of people who will be using the product and places them at the center of the design process. Great UX is simple and intuitive, and in the best-case scenario, users find it enjoyable to interact with. UX is the make-or-break factor in a product’s functionality and overall success.
Here are five leading tech companies who are getting UX right:
If we’re discussing UX in tech products, we have to mention Slack, a collaboration tool for businesses that’s gotten it’s claim to fame as the fastest growing workplace software ever. Their user onboarding process is known to be simple; it’s easy to get up and running with the app quickly. However, what makes its UX so great is that it combines ease of use with a standalone personality. For example, when the app is loading, it provides fun affirmations, wishing its users a “great day at work,” or even thanking them for using Slack. These tiny details aren’t just about personality but making the overall experience more pleasant. As one of the most popular workplace apps to date, there’s no doubt that good UX design has been a major contributor to its success.
The best UX is intuitive. It can predict what the user needs and can work well enough behind the scenes that the user doesn’t even notice the design when using the product. This is where First Republic Bank, a bank and wealth management company offering personal banking, business banking, trust and wealth management services, excels. It provides users with features that they value, like security and simplicity, in innovative methods. For example, the app’s StealthView feature allows users to dim and blur sensitive account information when banking in public. While consumers have always been concerned with their banking security, First Republic Bank integrates this top of mind concern innately into the mobile app. Its UX design features are essentially invisible; it knows what the user wants without them having to take unnecessary amounts of action.
Dropbox, a file hosting service that offers cloud storage, file synchronization, personal cloud and client software, has a great UX because of its easy to understand interface. Dropbox is easy for users to learn how to use. By having a folder and file organizational structure, it’s easy to recognize and use by anyone who ever used a computer. Any actions required to create an account and upload, share or download files are so intuitive that almost every user has known how to do so from the start. It’s natural for most users to try dragging and dropping files from their desktops to the page without them even know if it’s possible or not, just because it’s so familiar. People feel comfortable using Dropbox, which is a direct result of great UX design.
Great UX is informative, without bombarding users with mass amounts of text and data. It allows them to understand the company’s benefit, without sacrificing ease of use. The UX of NikePlus, a membership program that connects its members to exclusive shoes and gear, events, athlete stories and running and training programs, does just that. It provides fresh and timely information about NikePlus memberships in a way that’s both educational and engaging. It communicates value when a user first joins for a clear vision of how NikePlus can benefit them. Most importantly, Nike tailors its app content to the user. It personalizes every aspect of the user’s workout to their preferences, from music playlists to apparel recommendations.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Uber in a list of tech companies with great UX. Uber’s used as a textbook example for UX because it brings to life the exact definition of UX’s primary goal: it simplifies processes with the user at the forefront of the design process. Before Uber, hailing a cab or calling ahead for a car service was a troublesome task. It was tricky to nail down the perfect timing, locating the driver and arrive at your destination in a timely manner. It was an aggravating experience. Uber however, streamlined this process into a simple tap on a smartphone. Uber’s ridesharing innovation makes the process of calling a taxi easier, more accountable and more secure – all while using a clever interface to turn the process into something not unlike watching a video game.
So, what’s the lesson here? Successful UX, as defined by delivering a great experience for the user and business impact for the maker, requires putting customer understanding at the center of the design process. For all these companies, they started with deep insights about customer wants, needs and behavior, enabling them to develop solutions to clear problems and then great design made it stick.
(In full disclosure, Nike and First Republic are Motivate clients, and we’re proud that our insight-powered design approach has contributed to their success.)