Google UX Strategy consultant Jacob Greenshpan talks to Techsauce at WebSummit 2018 about the common mistakes to avoid and the secret sauce to successfully elevating user experience for apps 

Whenever humans interact with machines, there is always a design for interface.

Greenshpan says this interface is the human side to technology that should never be overlooked because it is what determines if your app is a success or not.  With over 22 years experience in building innovative, top-of-the-line UX solutions and applications, Greenshpan says user experience design (UX design) and user interface design (UI design) are often overlooked by companies.  

Common Mistakes

  1. Basing things on your own assumptions

Instead of getting out and knowing your market before launching your service, most people simply assume they know who their target is. For example a company with a brilliant idea would quickly assume its customer base is aged between 26-35 years and like a particular color. Sadly what follows is failure and money wasted.

This is a known mishap observed by Greenshpan in workshops he conducts around the world. Before starting his session, he would ask startups to describe their typical user on a piece of paper. He then instructs them to delete any part of the information that they have not researched on, which is based on their own assumptions. What follows is a totally different customer description to what startups originally started out with.

  1. Not using the data you have

The most common mistake is startups do not realize the importance of looking at the funnel law data. User acquisition is very much shaped like a funnel. For example, 100 people go through your site. 57 submit their details.  36 proceed to the next stage. Out of this group 22 download the application and only one at the end registers. Startups in most situations do not look at the funnel.

In many cases around the world Greenshpan says the startups he talks to say they know what their challenges are, but when asked about their funnel, they fail to come up with an answer.

  1. Not taking users’ emotions into consideration

Nowadays nobody buys what they need. If you look around you, you will see most of the things you own you do not really need. They are instead things that you want.  For example, you might have a battery pack/power bank that is shaped like a cute unicorn.  You may have chosen to purchase it over a cheaper plain power bank with no design. You do not need your power bank to be “cute”, but you want it to be.  

In many cases startups and companies are so focused on features that they forget about the emotions.

What makes a great UX design?

Startups that have impressed Greenshpan are those that pay attention to details when it comes to customer experience. Some companies do a great job on the boarding process, which is the process that starts when users download the app, register, and initiate use. These companies explain to users why certain questions are being asked at the initial stage. For example, it will tell the user, he or she is on step 2 out of 3, giving them a sense that the process is short. All the while, there may be details like background music to make the process comfortable. This makes the user feel very good. Greenshpan says this is what general companies do, they dictate users’ emotions to make them feel good.  

3 things new UX designers should know

  1. Education matters

In the past UX and UI programs did not exist in many schools. Now it is available all over the world. What newbies need to understand is UI and UX is not just based on intuition. In order to be a pro you need an education.

  1. Never work by yourself

Two heads are better than one. Always be a part of a team. Find someone who is more senior than you that can guide and teach you. Being hands on is really important. There are some things you cannot learn from a book.

  1. Always keep learning

Technology moves fast. So if you are a designer always keep in mind that the minute you sit down and relax the trend you thought was there may no longer exist. Back in the day when Greenshpan started out, the most advanced interaction on a phone was MMS, multimedia messaging service. It was amazing back in the 1990’s because you would get a video as a message. Tons of designs were developed for MMS application. Now, the world has advanced so fast, it is impossible to imagine us going back to the tiny resolution images. Trends move fast and you have to keep up.

What is the secret sauce to UX success?

Make sure you get exposed to as many different examples as possible.

According to Greenshpan all humans are learning systems that need exposure to examples to advance themselves. The key to Greenshpan’s success is he has created a great database of information from examples he has been exposed to. This was especially true during the time he was a co-founder to the biggest company in Israel for UX design. Out of the the 57 employees, he was exposed to hundreds of different projects. So he warns designers out there to open their eyes and not get focused too much too early.

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