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With the the entire world in quarantine, people are more reliant upon digital applications like content provider Netflix than perhaps ever before: The streaming company reportedly had 16 million new subscribers in the first three months of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
For 2020 RealLIST Engineers honoree Kathryn Stracquatanio, it’s not a coincidence that platforms with good user experience like Netflix thrive while others don’t perform as well.
Stracquatanio believes user experience is the driver of everything from digital products to the hardware that helps them run.
As a director of UX engineering and design at Comcast, Stracquatanio and her team work to develop UX prototypes that ultimately help people get where they need to go faster. She shared five reasons why good UX is important with Technical.ly:
1. Good UX creates emotional connections with products.
“Good UX is an interface that is not a burden and is a thing you enjoy using,” Stracquatanio said. It’s important for for the user to have an “emotional connection” — “that includes the look, the feel, a tactile quality, sound animation, speed.”
With UX’s focus on users, consumer insights are an integral part of Stracquatanio and her team’s design process. She believes creating prototypes and conducting qualitative research allows them to discover user reactions that only come from watching people use an interface.
2. Good UX allows users to get things done faster.
Being the mother of a five-month-old daughter has changed Stracquatanio’s perspective on UX design. As a frequent multitasker now with an infant in tow, being able to complete tasks as fast as possible is a top priority for her.
“Thinking about UX and how can that help us get somewhere faster,” she said, “my UX view on hardware has changed because of a stroller a crib or even diaper wipes. Every single product has to be thought through and designers have to ask, ‘How will a person use this?'”
3. Good UX makes users feel like a product has a purpose.
Building off UX making emotional connections to its users, Stracquatiano said good UX helps users see that products are purposeful.
“I think about what apps am I using right now that are good for multitasking,” she said. “[Grocery delivery app] Instacart is huge right now and has great UX. When something happens in your life, you go to a product [that can help you].”
Similarly, she said, “TurboTax is so easy to use because of great navigation and great storytelling. Using it, you think, ‘I can’t spend that much on my taxes but I will because it’s so easy.'”
4. Good UX pushes the boundaries of what we believe is possible.
Stracquatiano said that voice UX like Apple’s Siri, second screens and multitasking tools are the future of UX.
“Being able to do something on your device that impacts a larger area and hardware [matters],” she said. “We have Alexa and home security. These are things that help push your environment and world to the next level, especially without being somewhere else. We’re in a future when you’re at home all of the time. Having something that helps bring groups together and impacts a greater vision or user interface [matters].”
5. Good UX makes good products become great ones.
In today’s rapidly changing environment, Stracquatiano emphasizes that having good UX is the key to unlocking a products potential for success.
“There is no excuse now,” she says. “[UX] is something that is essential to users. Technology has changed so much in the last 10 years. Sometimes we see it as a luxury, but now with the rise in technology, there is so much competition. Good UX is what levels up your product. It doesn’t matter how much it costs if it’s easy to use.”
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