The lost art of efficiency in UX design

Burdette Theatre

Designing for the web has made interaction designers lazy.

Before the web, we had to care about making interactions efficient because they were for pinstriped businesses or high-pressure environments like aircraft cockpits.The web changed the rules.

With the web, interfaces had to be easy for the millions of new users who were coming online. Meeting that challenge undoubtedly made interfaces better. But our designs no longer had to be efficient – people just had to think they were efficient.For users, sitting home at their computers, it’s hard to judge the passage of time. That means there’s a big difference between perceived efficiency and actual efficiency. Little by little, we’ve lost our our ability to design for actual efficiency.

But perceived efficiency is no longer good enough. We need to create interfaces that people can glance at, use with a flick of the wrist or check a dozen times an hour.This talk will explain how tiny improvements in the efficiency of interactions have a big payoff in terms of user satisfaction – and ROI.

It looks at what stops us designing for efficiency – why current design practice and our own misconceptions often lead us to reject the best solutions.And it explores perceived efficiency. After all, for years we managed to fool users into thinking that the web was efficient. What does the psychology of analysing conversations have to teach us?

Efficiency on it’s own isn’t enough. In fact, as I’ll show, it can be terrible. Interactions also need to be usable and satisfying. I’ll discuss how to find the right balance. I’ll distill all that down into some techniques and rules the audience can apply immediately to measure and improve their designs.Along the way, I’ll offer plenty of examples, and a few surprises.

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