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ux on ALL of your products

Living in the product manager world means that I am having to think beyond just what the product does, but on multiple fronts that go beyond the “latest feature”.

Areas such as:

  • How the user interacts to get their job done every day
  • The method the customer uses to learn about the workflows, new widgets, etc. and how to navigate and administrate – that transcends just documentation and the like and goes into built-in help, self-documenting interfaces, etc.
  • What happens when something goes wrong? What is their support experience going to be like? Do they need to “re-crash the bus” to recreate everything, or do we take steps that minimize the downtime and automatically create an experience that ends positively for them?
  • How will our customers learn about the new feature? How do we market it?

These are examples of things that are so important to the end result in the market, but are not always tackled in totality. Any one of these things can end with a dissatisfied customer if we do not do them right.

In addition to all of that, we all need to remember that everything you produce that is customer facing is, in fact, your product. From your Release Notes to your Social Media posts. Your corporate website and pages are also your product. That even includes your advertisements and even your legal documents.

Everything is UX. Everything is your product.

I just spent a little downtime browsing some corporate product pages for an area of interest of mine. Of the 6 sites that I visited, 4 were complete disappointments.

Let me explain.

On all 4 the same experience prevailed. There seemed to be an end goal of making sure that every department had their piece of the website on each product page, and each one got the opportunity to accost me as I scrolled. That brings me to the point of my rant today.

Popovers.

If in order to scroll from the top of a webpage to the bottom and learn more about your amazing product I have to click through multiple informational popovers that block the content, you’re doing it wrong!

As a potential customer, I want to have continuity of content. I want to view the information in a consumable way. Popovers, while likely putting some good information in the forefront that I might have interest in, stop me from doing what I wanted to do in the first place. They force me to divert my attention to first, scan the new content for anything of value (there isn’t), and then click on the “x” to close it, and then re-join the content that was in progress.

That is not consumable.

It is like when you’re trying to have a conversation with someone and a 4 year old is tugging on your pant leg saying “Look! Look! Look!”. There might be some good reason for me to stop and listen to him, but more often than not its because they saw a bird.

When you distract the user from completing their task with something else, you break concentration and introduce frustration.

Do NOT sacrifice your customer’s experience so that every internal department gets their way with the them. Do NOT turn your marketing opportunities into 4 year olds. They might get clicks, but often those clicks are clicks to another browser tab.

EVERYTHING that you put in front of a customer is your product.

Act like it.

Now, guess which 2 company websites I continued browsing and will likely make a purchase from.

😉

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