In the past few years I have had the opportunity to work on some very cool projects. In some cases I would be hired to design and code the frontend of a brand new digital product, let’s say a new website for a startup company. For these projects, there are no existing users that are used to seeing a certain button or menu in a specific place. The main goal of these sites is to build up a user base, and get the word out about the given product or service to generate leads and sales. These projects are fun, fast, and allow me to grow as a designer and developer since there is no “legacy” of user experience or user expectations.
Then there are opportunities that come with more, shall we say, maturity. These are websites or apps that were built some time ago, already have an established and loyal user base, customer service personnel trained to use and troubleshoot that system, analytic tools for management, hooks into accounting software, etc. etc. These digital products may or may not be “the prettiest” little shining gem of UI design, but they often have one thing both going for and against them.
If you were to survey websites built in the last year, and compare them to sites built in, I dunno… 2006 – of course you would find some obvious visual differences. Differences in technical tools, style trends, and environmental factors all have contributed to the differences you would see in typical websites designed between these two times. In addition to what’s under the hood, the expectations of the driver behind the wheel has changed dramatically as well. We now expect websites to load fast, be easy and intuitive to navigate, format automatically to a widening array of screen sizes, and give feedback on our actions while visiting. User expectations for quality digital experiences has never been higher. We have come a long way, baby – and we haven’t even left the driveway yet.
The question is this: how do you meet or exceed user expectations in an environment of increasing change?
Evernote soft-release: “try it in beta”
Evernote impressed me with a recent soft-release of an updated web experience.