Throughout the semester, we have been learning the prime principles for developing an effective and engaging digital platform. From constructing journey maps and accessing Neilson’s usability metrics to understanding user research and developing prototypes, we are immersed in creating the ultimate interface and experience for the user to eventually make a return on investment. At the end of the day, everything is a business.
While there are right and wrong ways implement a digital platform, just like there are traditionally right and wrong ways to begin a business, there are also deceptive – or should we say, misleading – tactics to “trick” a user into doing something they were not intending.
Whether or not you realize it, we are victims to bad UI on a daily basis.
Some examples include:
- Pandora’s incredibly difficult ‘X’ to escape from advertisements that will randomly appear
- Pop-ups that opaquely say “continue to site”
- Ads on a page that are intentionally disguised to appear as a part of the page’s content
In these scenarios, the perpetrator garners traffic that otherwise would have deferred viewership. Is this how we want to attract customers? Manipulating their pathways? Thus, changing their user experience? In my opinion, the cost outweighs the gain. Every time we pull our customers in a direction they did not intend, we strain the fragile relationship between the customer and ourselves. While in the short-term gains will be made, pulling on the tender strings of this relationship will only destroy the trust we sought to build.
To ensure that a business (B2C, in particular) does not fall into this habit, it is necessary that user research is performed to understand their background. After which, user testing is an essential component to identify where users appear frustrated on your site/platform.
The lesson learned is while we can shape the pathway for the user’s experience, we must do so ethically and honestly to stay true to our customer’s trust and respect. Technology is rampant and is only expected to surge from current levels as consumers turn to these as resources for their everyday needs and pleasures. Organizations should seek to play a positive and engaging part of their experience so to reap in consumers faith and loyalty.