We are in an era where consumerism has reached its peak. There is cut-throat competition among the goods and service providers to grab a sizable chunk of market share. User experience (UX) plays a vital role in the success or failure of a product in the market. Although usability is the core function of UX, the discipline, of late, has expanded its functional ambit beyond the confines of usability alone. There are many other important factors other than usability to determine the outcome of UX design. Proper attention should be given to take care of all these factors while creating a UX design. According to Peter Morville, the man responsible for spearheading the field of UX research, 7 factors play a pivotal role in the outcome of a functional UX design. Morville depicted these 7 factors through his User Experience Honeycomb as per the following pictorial representation:
In the following few paragraphs, we shall discuss these 7 factors and their likely impact on user experience.
The first and foremost rule of a product to survive in a competitive market is its usefulness. The product must serve a valuable purpose. There is no shortage of similar products in the market. The product in question must be able to compete with other similar products in the context of its usefulness. The concept of value should be viewed from the perspective of the users. A piece of painting or a computer game may not yield any tangible benefit to its user. However, the pleasure derived from the aesthetic beauty of a painting or the element of fun involved in a computer game can very well be categorized as the usefulness of the relevant products or services from the point of view of its consumer.
The usability of a product is determined by its ability to let users achieve its stated purpose. Every product or service is supposed to serve the objective for which it is being marketed. Every user wants to get the result of the product as effectively as possible. The concept of usability changes with the constant technological advancement witnessed throughout human civilization. The phasing out of gramophone records by audio cassettes, replacement of the latter by more advanced compact discs, and again by pen drives are ample testimony to the ever-changing scenario of the concept of usability.
The findability of a product or service depends upon the user’s ability to find the same. A shopping mall with various kinds of products and services on offer must segregate their products into distinct categories with clear display boards indicating the sections to let customers know where to locate their desired product. Similarly, a visitor on a particular news website will find it confusing to browse news related to sports if all the sections of the website are jumbled. On the contrary, if the content of the website is organized into sections such as national and international news, local news, business-related matters, entertainment, and sports section, etc., the reader can easily navigate through it and get to his choice of interest effortlessly.
Credibility is one of the essential parts of a product or service. In recent times, there are plenty of options available in almost all the fields for the customers to choose a product that will precisely satisfy their needs. The product provider must not falter in satisfying the cravings of the customer. It isn’t easy to restore the credibility of your product once people lose faith in it. Especially in the era when user data is currency, credibility is crucial. It is, therefore, all the more vital that you do not tamper with the credibility aspect of your product.
The aspect of desirability depends upon many factors. Product and service providers spend generously trying to build a brand image of their product. People these days easily get attracted to the brand image of products and services. Besides the branding factor, the desirability aspect of a product is further controlled by its degree of comfort-ability, identity, aesthetic, and emotional design. The desirability factor comes into play while choosing between the same products offered by different providers.
Accessibility is the ability of the product or service to reach out to every section of the users. There may be persons with some disability. A person with a hearing loss problem is not in a position to enjoy the sound aspect of your product/service. A blind consumer is unable to identify the required product with its plain view. Likewise, there are several people with speech or motion or learning impairment. A product or service is said to be truly accessible to its users when all its abilities can be utilized by its users irrespective of their disabilities. However, this particular aspect of accessibility is regrettably still neglected.
A product or service must be able to add some value to its purported user. This value should be directly proportional to its usefulness. For example, a $100 product must be able to deliver worth at least the cost of that product, if not more. People should be able to recover the cost of the product from its usability. A product that will not be able to deliver any value to its user is unlikely to survive.
From the above discussion, we find that all these seven factors are critical in the outcome of UX design. We have to keep in mind the importance of each of these seven factors while creating a UX design for a product or service. The performance of the UX design will depend upon how seriously we have taken care of all these seven factors. Ignoring these 7 vital factors may spell doom and destroy your user experience.