Esteemed UX Lead at Microsoft UK, Jarnail Chudge had plenty to say when the UXUK Awards team quizzed him on usability and user experience. Judging by his answers he is going to be a tough judge to crack, looking for examples of intelligent experiences designed for the user that engage and deliver the desired response or action. A complex character, remember to ask him about the superpower, and to name his favourite app or website at the UXUK Awards ceremony – he’ll have had plenty of time to consider….
Have you got a favourite app / website in terms of the design and user experience?
Hhhmmm need to noodle on that one…
Which industries, in your opinion, tend to deliver the worst user experiences, and why?
I think that every industry across the board has really upped their game when it comes to design and user experience; that’s not to say that everyone gets it right all the time.
Organisations have now come to realise the importance of the experience and how it can be used to communicate their brand and values, and the increasing expectations that we, as consumers have, of the brands and organisations we choose to interact with.
Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot of ‘ugh!’ designs out there but they are the exception rather than the norm. I would say that the overall quality has improved considerably over the past few years.
What has been the greatest game changer in the UX and usability sectors over the past 10 years?
There are still a lot of poorly designed applications and service experiences out there but certainly almost everyone I talk to recognises the importance of engaging with the people who the system is designed for as part of the process of design. That used to be a real struggle a few years ago. This is due to the power of the consumer which manifests itself in a number of different ways: At one level the recognition that we as people – whether at home or at work – want to get the stuff we care about done quickly, efficiently, and enjoyably. At another level, the way that design has helped bring people together socially has forged a different sort of connection than existed in the past – the ability for people to share interests or aggregate around a common cause, has been massively impactful.
So, perhaps in summary, the access to information through social and other channels and the ubiquity of mobile devices that enable us to access that information from almost anywhere…connections permitting…has been absolutely massive!
What do you think are the biggest challenges companies face utilising UX?
Making the vast amount of information that is out there accessible, useful, and meaningful to people…both in terms of cutting out the noise in an intelligent but person-motivation-centric way, but also from a universal design perspective.
All too often designing for the people is left to the very end and added as an afterthought or ‘must-do compliance feature’ which means that as a discipline and an approach we deny ourselves the opportunity that universal design offers to innovate i.e. to design for the most difficult challenges, the edge cases.
If you crack them in an elegant way, then naturally the experience is one that everyone can use and you end up delivering a better overall experience and a better overall product or service.
Striking the right balance between innovation, usability, and alignment with values. All too often companies utilise ‘copycat’ designs and there are a plethora of ‘me too’ experiences out there. What is missing – and I think what can be a real differentiator for organisations – is how to make that design meaningful and relevant for the people who are using it or it is aimed at.
That level of insight comes from a proper investment in research, analysis, and exploration…and designers willing to have conversations around culture and values and then figure out how to translate that into a meaningful experience.
Do you have any UX pet peeves?
As above…there is a lot of copycat/me-too design! Also, stuff that should be easy but isn’t!
Perhaps, most of all, companies which purport to know me and end up spamming me with useless mails…the lack of any real empathy is incredibly annoying…using raw machine power to group and categorise me works up to a point, but the attempt to try and have a personal relationship with me when in reality it is one way and extremely functional and 2-dimensional, is incredibly annoying.
Just because I have brought something or looked at something on your site, do not purport to know me!
If you could have any super power what would it be and why?
Physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual?