I’m a big fan of music.
I love to compose it, play it, listen to it, and share it.
In my years of composing, I’ve used melody, harmony, tempo, and so on to craft the best music I can. In those years I’ve learned to listen, I mean really listen, to the song as it is played to see what’s missing…or what’s extra that needs to get cut. Sometimes the song is lacking energy (fixed with adding a fast guitar rhythm track) or sometimes the song is unfocused (fixed with removing entire tracks).
A better song.
Critical listening, at least for me, is key not only in crafting the best song I can, but also in crafting the best user experience I can.
Here are a few examples of what I mean:
Install and configure the product yourself. Listen to the product unfold…does it flow well? Are there hiccups that force you to pause, look something up, scratch your head? Is there some step you can remove (automate) or is there guidance you should add?
Too often I get numb and don’t notice all those irritating shards in the UX that if removed would make for a much smoother experience. Listen to that nagging little voice that moans at every dumb behavior, bad icon, or poorly worded button. If you hear yourself saying, “We will need to add help to describe that”, then you need to fix that area. By listening to that voice, you may find all kinds of things to remove!
Listen for assumptions you make as you navigate your UX. Will your users make those same assumptions? Are there gaps in your UX that you fill with your expertise that your users will trip over?
Many of our product focus on a particular area of our users work. In their world, our product is only one of many they need to use to keep their business running. Listen to how customers work. Is there additional integration, sharing, awareness that your product can add? You don’t need to solve the world’s problems, but if you show you are aware of where they need to go next, users will be much happier.
Those are just a few examples…so how do you listen to your user experience?