Practice what you preach – be fast and look sexy

As people who know me well may have heard once or twice, user experience is everything. When designing a custom web based application for a customer, there is always an unwritten requirement of “look sexy” and be fast.

This week my team and I at PSC successfully rolled out a new global application to a customer and here are some examples of the feedback we received within the first day or so:

  • I tried the new site only this morning and I have only one word: fantastic! It is very user friendly and fast.
  • …not to mention, based on the feedback from partners in the US and leaders across the world, it is the best system they have seen in the company.
  • …thanks for all your efforts! Looks “sexy” so (sponsor) is definitely pleased.

Not a single mention of how the functionality will meet their business needs. Not a thought for how well we have met their requirements. We have done that, but that would be irrelevant if we had delivered a poor looking, slow, but highly functional website.

To achieve the speed we were looking for the application is built primarily on Angular.js and Domino Data. Minimizing the amount of server processing for any given user interaction and minimizing the network traffic necessary to provide the expected response time, was a prime consideration in designing the architecture. Working with the talented design team at PSC and the customer we were able to create a visual user experience which adhered to the company’s strict style guides but looked “sexy”.

Be fast, look sexy, and make users want to tell their friends.

8 thoughts on “Practice what you preach – be fast and look sexy

  1. Amen I say. Absolutely. There’s nothing the users love more then a good experience. User experience is everything. It’s so clear I see it now!

    Ya know who else has a great user experience? DisneyWorld does!

    Disney has a great attraction called “Mission: Space”. https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/attractions/epcot/mission-space.

    That’s such a neat ride to experience. There’s a “user interface” in the buttons, dials, knobs and indicators. Looks just like a space shuttle might.

    Of course you don’t actually blast off to Mars… or leave orbit… or can claim being real astronaut…

    Hmm on second thought maybe there’s more to some experiences then just a pretty interface.

    I remember that Mars mission that crashed because one team used Metric measurements and the other English. http://www.wired.com/2010/11/1110mars-climate-observer-report/

    I hope both teams at least made sure their screens had a pretty font and sexy colors.

  2. Sounds awesome Marky. Would love to see it though! OK, so maybe the finished app is confidential, blah blah, but there has to be a way to show off a sampling of some of the UI tricks as a Youtube video. I’m hopefully going to be getting into that more myself soon as sharing Youtube app demo videos produced in SnagIt has proven a hit with my own clients. It’s like that old saying: “You show me yours and I’ll show you mine.” 🙂

    • Hey Kevin – good to hear from you 🙂

      Not sure what I can do with this one but doing UI good and bad is on my list of things to do. Unfortunately it never gets close to the top….we shall see though 🙂

  3. Cool, the single page applications are really fast when compared to XPages stateful applications. We have a database with over a million documents, the ui is built with Backbone.js and Marionette.js and it’s very fast. I think these types of use cases really showcase Domino and .nsf as a data store.

  4. I’ve seen it over and over again: Users don’t want to spend a huge amount of time, looking for what they need to take care of or requires their attention in an application. They want to jump in, do what their job requires them to do and get it done.

    UI is, what makes or brakes an application. The code in the background can be as sophisticated as can be, the user doesn’t care about that and will disapprove or even hate an application, if it doesn’t work for them.

    • In my opinion anyone (corporate developer or otherwise) who think even for a second “it doesn’t matter it’s their (user’s) job, they will have use the application anyway”, is kidding themselves.

      Unfortunately project sponsors don’t always appreciate that more time and effort ($) needs to go into a more usable application either.

      • Absolutely agree. Though you can do small things to improve user experience, even if the budget for a project is tight, i.e. the first things a user sees, when opening an application, are related to the user’s role in that particular application (approver sees request submitted to him/her, requester sees requests returned to him/her etc.)

      • Once upon a time when the world was young there was a train of thought that it should not take more than 3 clicks to get top the information I am looking for.

        While websites have got much larger, search has also got much better. People do not navigate as much through clicking any more. Still not a bad “goal” though.

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