Mariah Hay serves as the Director of User Experience for AMC Health where she leads a team of Designers and Strategists to uncover the true needs of the consumer, to inform Web and Mobile digital product conception, and direct service strategy. She also serves as Professor of Design Management at Savannah College of Art and Design where she governs graduate level design management classes that teach students from all backgrounds how to apply UX design-thinking practices to business and product solutions. Mariah holds an MFA in Industrial Design from Savannah College of Art and Design.
Confusing UX with UI Can Cost You
I’m not typically a gambler, but I am willing to bet that you have a smartphone. And on that smartphone you have a collection of apps. Some of them you use everyday- maybe even several times a day. Some of them you rely on so heavily that to take them away would cause a serious hardship. I know I have a few. I want you to think about why you use these apps so much. Why you are so attached to them. Maybe it’s because they are simple to use. They make your life easier. They may even be fun. In fact, now that you think about it, it’s like these apps were designed just for you.
Now I want you to think about why you feel like this app was designed with you in mind. I’ll give you a hint. It’s not because some UI (User Interface) designer sat in a cubicle and made an ugly app pretty. It’s not because a UX (User Experience) designer guessed at how it should work. It’s because a leader like you made the smartest decision he could possibly make. He chose to invest in a UX professional who is good at learning about the end user. A UX professional good at taking that information and transforming it into insight about what the user needs. A UX professional good at building a solution so compelling that the end use falls in love with using it.
Do you know what happens when your end user falls in love with the solution you have invested in? If it’s an internal business solution, your productivity will skyrocket. Your workforce will scale farther. Your employees who use the solution to do their job will be happier. You will reduce your employee turnover. You will set the industry standard. You may even be able to monetize it. Don’t believe me? Just look at the internal tools that have made UPS, Amazon and Intuit so successful.
Maybe your end user is your customer. If you put a solution in their hands that they love using, not only do you have a customer for as long as your solution is relevant, they will scream if someone tries to take it away. They will share how much they love it with other people. They will multiply in numbers until you no longer have to seek out customers, but instead need to turn them away. Take AirBnB, Uber and Tinder. These young startups are now worth billions and still growing at a frightening rate. The main thing they have in common is a solution that is so user-friendly that a customer uses it once and falls in love with it. It’s not user friendly because it’s pretty. It’s user friendly because they invest in UX. They invest in knowing their user.
It is your mission as a leader to defend against business killers, and invest in the infrastructure that brings success. If there is one thing you need to remember it is this; UX is not UI. UX is not about making a pretty interface. UX is about understanding what your user needs. UX is about creating the right solution.