Unpacking UX: A Guide to Speaking Precisely in Product Development

Beyond “Improving UX”: Specifying the Need

In the world of product development, the term “User Experience” (UX) often becomes a catch-all phrase, used to cover a multitude of design, usability, and functionality concerns. However, employing this term too broadly muddies the water, leading to misunderstandings and inefficiencies within teams. To communicate clearly, improve project outcomes, and make it understood that we know what we’re talking about, we need to speak much more precisely about UX.

When we say we need to “improve the UX” of a product, what do we really mean? UX encompasses everything from the visual design of an interface to how a user feels when interacting with a product. By being more specific, we can more effectively target our efforts:

  • Instead of saying, “We need to improve the UX of our app,” consider specifying, “We need to enhance the navigation flow within our app to improve usability.”
  • Rather than suggesting, “Let’s consider the UX in our next sprint,” pinpoint the action by saying, “Let’s include usability testing in our next sprint to identify and address user pain points.”

Feedback and Feature Development: The Importance of Precision

Feedback on features or the overall product can often be vague, attributed to “bad UX.” However, drilling down into specifics can provide actionable insights:

  • If feedback mentions, “Users are complaining about the UX of this feature,” a more insightful approach could be, “Users are finding the interface confusing and need more intuitive interaction design for this feature.”
  • Discussing product strategy by saying, “Our product’s UX doesn’t stand out against competitors,” could be more constructively expressed as, “Our product lacks a unique value proposition and user-centered design approach compared to competitors.”

From UX to Specific Actions

When planning, developing, or evaluating a product, specificity in communication is key. For instance:

  • In development phases, moving from “We need to consider UX while developing this API” to “We need to ensure the developer experience (DX) is considered by creating comprehensive documentation and easy-to-use endpoints for this API,” shifts the focus to actionable goals.
  • Pre-launch checks often get simplified to “We should do a final UX check before release.” A more detailed approach would be, “We should conduct a final round of user acceptance testing to ensure the product meets user needs and expectations.”

Conclusion: The Clarity in Specificity

Emphasising specificity when discussing UX not only clarifies communication among team members but also aligns efforts towards more targeted and effective outcomes. By moving beyond the umbrella term of UX to articulate the specific aspects of user experience we’re addressing, we foster a more efficient, collaborative, and ultimately successful product development process.

We need to challenge ourselves to communicate with precision, ensuring that every mention of UX is accompanied by a clear, actionable, and specific intention. This approach will not only improve our products but also our professional growth and collaboration within our teams.