A good customer experience is essential for success regardless of whether it is a software solution, a website, or an app. Therefore, it makes sense to continuously evaluate and optimise the user experience.
When it comes to UX design, the interaction between the user and the technology is often visualised as a pyramid that contains three or more levels - as is seen in the model below. The pyramid contains parameters that must be present when creating the optimal UX design for a product.
There are many different versions of the UX pyramid; some have six layers or parameters. At Combine, we work specifically with the parameters ‘desirable’, ‘usable’, and ‘useful’. The last two may sound like the same thing, but this is not the case:
- Useful is how beneficial the product is. Does it solve the needs and challenges that the user faces?
- Usable is how easy the product is to use. Does the user know how to use it?
- Desirable is how attractive – e.g., how entertaining or good-looking, and well-designed – the platform is to the user. This is more of a subjective parameter.
Rather a triangle than an interaction
However, there is a fundamental problem with the pyramid; the three parameters are organised in a hierarchy, where they are not seen as equals.
At Combine, we visualise the model as a triangle where all three parameters are dependent on one another. Like the legs of a stool - they are all equally important.
A good user experience is an interaction between parameters. If you e.g., make the solution easier to use (usable), it also becomes more valuable (useful), and it is more inviting and interesting to use (desirable).
The classic mistakes
A common mistake is to focus too narrowly on a single element of the product, rather than focusing on the overall good user experience. Typically, this happens when you lose oversight and it is a sign of a derailed design process.
Another classic problem is that the developer of the digital solution is very interested in making obvious improvements and wants to make the product more fun and aesthetic even though the user may find it difficult to use.
Likewise, it can be tempting to expand a product’s usefulness and add more functionalities. This may cause a product’s core function to be forgotten due to many different features. You can end up with what is called "a feature monster".
It is exceptionally difficult to get a desirable product if it is difficult to use. Therefore, you must have a foundation of usability before adding resources to the more subjective characteristics of the product. Simultaneously, it is also important that desirability does not become something just thrown into the mix at the last second. It must be part of the early development stages.
How to create the most value
The truth is that all three parameters are equally important for the complete user experience. You must reflect on and think through how changes affect all three parameters if you wish for your changes to make sense and create value.
Desirability is not unimportant at all and can highly improve the user experience, as it is these elements that are most obvious and noticeable to the user. It is here that the potential improvements are most visible and you can differentiate yourself from the competition. This is also where aspects like personalisation and gamification can play a role. The desirability of the product can determine if the user recommends it to others and is satisfied with the product.
However, for this to work, you must have the objective parameters in order. It makes no sense to introduce new elements that the user needs to figure out if the user is already having trouble with the simpler functions on the platform.
Therefore, you first must ensure that the basics are functional. For example, this could be reducing the clicks and scrolls needed for the customer to find the functions they are searching for. Of course, it is also important that the user experience on the platform is manageable.
The functionality is fundamental. Otherwise, you run the risk of users not wishing to engage with the product because it is not functional, reliable, or usable enough.