Sunday, 12 July 2015

Atom 48: Does Experiences Kill Usability?

If you would have looked at a decade of User Experience evolution, the remarkable shift from early years to now, is the curve of experience that shifts to more of engagement factors. How to engage an user through experience is the primary question at the back of the designer or business mind. The engagement was not the back-bone of the interface design by deep-diving into the history, though there were subjects of bringing in persuasion or emotional design to fore-front. The emotional attribute was in generic related to the visual aesthetics but not thoroughly that touches content, interaction and micro-detailing. It really shows experience is just the whole piece rather than a single marvel.

Enough of that we understand the micro-details and minimalism shine at foreground, but we do also need to keep in mind of the "usability" or "efficiency" that taught us to solve rudimentary issues before choreography of experiences sprung up to create the magic. We sometimes think Usability can suffer under hands of elaborated scrolls, unwanted transitions, inefficient content and more that can kill its existence. It's not fashion that user's can brag of the excellency but its sheer mechanics of time, task, need and hope. Yes, hope of coming to a site or place in expectation of resolving or knowing a need where a task is established in which time is involved!

If you would have been a follower of Wimbledon Tournament in recent days, then many would not have missed the IBM's Wimbledon website, a very refreshing look to the tennis sport. One thing and only thing that stands the best is the experience of the live video as a backdrop when the tournament or play has completed for the day. The video brings in touch of Wimbledon terraces, drinking spots, city lights and garden fountain in front of your eyes!

But that's all that is do with experience, when the usability is a forgotten aspect on the site - which so far mesmerizes to think going extra-ordinary does not mean the basics are not achieved. The good scenario is to understand of how a tournament site should work at basic level - when no live scores are shown upfront or neither correct information of the play is updated; which may be the purposes in addition to selling tickets and cross-selling Wimbledon products. I believe the tournament scores have to be the chief mechanics for the website, which is not lucidly shown or when it says  "Play is in progress" it also queer to figure out that when actual state of the match is "suspended momentarily", where trust and usability are beaten hands-down to show how a credible or usable website is this one to be. There are also other inconsistent information or arrangements that really perplexes the whole idea - Arrows everywhere (which it means forward or a video?), arrows with different affordances, primary navigation at a strange location, content order of the primary navigation is clueless or baseless (what choice was that to make About section to stay up ahead of shop or foundation), infrequent news update section, footer section right at the foot of the screen.

When Experiences like best of images, videos or technical improvisation enlivens a site it does not undermine to kill usability for sheer joy or accolades. User experience strategy should tie all its base elements in pure grounded manner when the experience aspects can float in obscurity - when the whole design in unseen against time, task, need and the user's worthwhile hope stays positive finally!