It is a misplaced notion, common among many that UI and UX are the same. Now, even though they do rely on each other to a certain extent, they are not the same. The user experience (UX) is affected by many more factors than just user interface (UI). Designers do impact the user experience, but is that impact as significant as that of a developer?
They hold the power to damage the Experience
- One of the most annoying factors that affect a website visitor is the slow website. Imagine waiting for minutes that may seem like an hour that time with the entire fast-paced tech around us. Website performance is one of the key ingredients that improve the user experience. This responsibility of working on website performance lies primarily with website developers.
- The responsibility for the sites that are inaccessible or don’t work on a particular platform and a browser falls to the front-end developers.
- Ever been irritated by the specific way few websites ask for your contact number or credit card number? And that specific way is the only way the website will accept your submitted data. This is part of form validation and depends entirely on the choices made by the website developer.
- Use of capital letters, small letters, numbers, symbols, and special characters is a must while creating a new password. Moreover, it must be 8 characters long. We understand the security safeguards required but the enforced strict password requirements can ruin the user experience. Offering something like Slack Magic link instead of adding compulsive complex passwords could do the trick as well. Again, you can blame the developer for not taking safeguarding steps himself and shoving it all on us.
- Multiple techniques can be implemented that deal with spam and may take longer to code. However, few developers prefer to take shortcuts by simply adding CAPTCHA and make spam the user’s problem. This can significantly compromise user experience.
We can go on and on, but it then would take all day to reach the conclusion here!
It is important to note that though the responsibility of the above issues lies in the hands of the developer, it may not always be their fault. While some decisions may be enforced on them by the management, some may have stemmed from lack of knowledge transfer or platform limitations. Lack of time is another factor that makes them take decisions taking user experience into consideration.
So with the right resources and opportunity provided, can they improve the user experience?
They hold the power to improve the Experience
Again, listing down all the potential ways will take all day so we will take top four points into account and how it improves the user experience.
Create User Centric Form
While the visualization of the form lies in the hands of the designer, there are varying factors and details that need to be taken care of by the web developer to make it a reality. These details are as follows:
- Avoid splitting information across multiple fields.
- Utilize smart validation.
- Only show fields that are necessary.
- Reduce the unnecessary options provided.
- Remember data.
- Avoid forcing users to enter same data again and again.
Developers are heavily involved in form creation and have the potential to seriously hamper user experience if not done right.
Provide Better Error Handling
Designers don’t usually focus on details. We don’t mean to undermine them but there are many occasions where even though the finished interface design is good, they fail to address few glitches or errors in the interface. Error handling in such cases isn’t easy and it becomes developer’s responsibility to find ways to remedy it.
Improve the Handling of Edge Cases
Attention to detail often leads developers to get hung up on edge cases. They unnecessarily focus on secondary priorities or needs of audiences and end up ruining the experience for everyone else. Consider the form below.
Note the third line of the address field that allows users to add an extra field to fill in their complete address. Even though a small percentage of users uses it, is it really necessary to display it by default? It will take up unnecessary space and only distract users who have no need for it. A developer can easily hide that section by default and allow to add an extra field when the user clicks on it or fills in maximum characters in the provided address field.
Maximise Performance (or at least the feel of it)
You don’t need to tell your developers that they need to focus on performance. A good developer will always be aware of it. They are already inclined to make a website as fast as possible. But sometimes, developers tend to focus more on data rather than the experience. There can be a thin line between how fast a website is loading and how fast it feels like it is loading. Web developers can take following smart steps to ensure that visitors feel that the website is loading quickly when the reality might be a bit different.
- Provide instantaneous feedback when the visitor clicks on any link or a button rather than make him wait.
- Load an image of the video first. Load the video only if the image is clicked.
- Pre-load a lower resolution version of the image, then replace it with the higher resolution image once the load is complete.
The above points highlight how designers are not the sole guardians of the user-experience and much of the hard work done by the developers goes unnoticed and under the radar. They play a crucial role in influencing the user experience, as much as designers do, if not more.
Need to improve the user experience of your web or mobile app? Contact us at Potenza Global Solutions today! We are a reputed website development company brimming with a team of web developers and designers, offering website development and website design services across the globe.