On UI/UX Decisions

Despite the undisputable importance of UI/UX (User Interface, User Experience) for most software products, most software developers prefer to deal with more sexy/nerdy topics such as architectural patterns, algorithms, performance optimization, backend services etc.

While giant vendors  enjoy the luxury of employing UI/UX engineers, medium sized vendors usually either do not have the resources for this or even worse do not see the necessity for this. In any case, with or without dedicated professionals, UI/UX decisions have to be taken.

And then the horror begins… Why? Here a (non-exhaustive) list:

  • UI/UX is fundamentally subjective. Ask 10 persons and you are sure to get >7 different opinions
  • Third-party tools or remote development teams, on which you have limited to none influence, might be relevant for the final result
  • Marketing wants/has/needs to be involved
  • UI/UX trends keep changing
  • Working with graphic designers (e.g., for logos, icons, background pictures) can be painfully inefficient

What can you do to avoid a UI/UX inferno with constant fights and infinite frustrating meetings?

  • Keep it light: build UI/UX groups of maximum 3 persons. Most persons usually do not get offended if  their opinion on UI/UX issues is not asked, but they do get offended when their opinion is ignored
  • Create and constantly update  UI/UX guidelines, e.g., for fonts, colors, navigational elements, checkboxes, wizards etc
  • Avoid extensive user customization of fonts colors etc.  Not only does it take longer to develop and test, but eventually 99% of the users stick to the default
  • Involve external professionals for extensive changes/facelifts in order to get an unbiased view and increase your chances of reaching a consensus