Great design equals a great UX… right?


Just Copy Path & Pinterest

I enjoy using Path and Pinterest as much as the next person, however with all the aggregated attention that these indeed awesome products deserve, it unfortunately also fuels the false mindset that a great user experience is strongly correlated, aka 100% tied to a beautiful user interface, and thus if you have an awesome UI then surely your product is guaranteed to offer your future consumers a mind blowing experience.

Clearly this isn’t the case.

Five signs of a perfect UX

Thinking that a great user experience and a great user interface are one and the same, in addition to thinking that user experience is just a step in the process are among the two of the top misconceptions that people have about crafting a great user experience for their product. If only it was as simple as the five signs of a great UX via ReadWriteWeb:

  • Elegant UI
  • Addictive
  • Seamless
  • It Changes You

By no means am I disagreeing with this list nor the article, instead I just want to make sure that people realize that it isn’t as simple as this list makes it seem. Path (version 2) is an amazing product — just as are Apple products; and one of the main things they have in common is how they both are constantly iterating to create better product experiences.

What makes a product addictive and seamless? We all have our theories, and a strong understanding from past experiences; however, you usually can’t just pick up a strategy from one place and paste it into another. Whatever worked for Path, probably won’t work for you. This is why you don’t lead with your UI. By maintaining a strong core vision, you can iterate and build out that your product by molding it as you learn exactly how your consumers respond and react to your product.

What great aesthetics can’t do

Having a great design for your brand and startup is always a great thing, and is proving to become increasingly more important as consumers are now expecting a great design — however, it’s not the core of the product. If a car has no engine, it doesn’t matter how pretty you make it, because after someone tries to actually use it how ‘good it looks’ quickly goes down the drain.

Design is a visual language which supports the strategy, promotes the product which is built by your amazing team and lead by a strong vision. Imagine it’s a giant wrapper that encompasses all these aspects , however it doesn’t make up for any of the core elements inside. Christopher Simmons wrote a great article about this as well, and basically where the above concentric illustration came from.

Again both the Path and Pinterest — & TripLingo products do have a great user interface, but it’s key to remember that the actual great experience isn’t solely based off how good they look. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple fix to craft a great experience for users. If it was we would be inundated with pure awesomeness everywhere… that would be awesome though.

What other products or apps have given you a great experience recently? Do you agree, or believe that design makes for a better experience?

2 thoughts on “Great design equals a great UX… right?

  • I agree with the AIGA article your agreeing with.

    I think I would “1+ up” this article on hacker news (where I came from) if you broke down a failed, an okay and a great product/service, proving why they are great and etc based on the 5 elements.

  • I’d definitely be interested to hear more in depth of the actual way that UI & UX are disjointed. Where do some of the Pinterest/Path acolytes go wrong?

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