Good user experience design: UX can do what, now?

An unexpectedly symbiotic relationship between good user experience design and rich analytics has emerged. One you can put to use in service of knowing more about what your customers want. And better learning about the people using your site always equals Advantage: You.

 

Customers are won and lost every day based on good or bad user experience design.

Of course anyone in web design services, mobile or web application development will tell you that. Good user experience design is always necessary to help people engage, learn and get things done—to keep them coming back—to keep them using your app— to get them to tell their friends about your app, your site, your service… But what if we told you that one of the simplest design concepts you can deploy has yielded an incredible byproduct: an engagement data motherlode—information you can use to improve your application, instantly? It exists. And it is called The Card Swipe.

 

The Card Swipe: a new framework of thought for UX enthusiasts and data observers alike.

Card based UX itself isn’t new. Apps like TinderJelly, and Google Now are all designed for mobile readability and engagement, and use cards of information in some way. Psychologists and UX researchers generally agree that the vertical “infinite scroll” model on most news feeds and mobile dashboards can overwhelm users—making them lose the sense of accomplishment in a usage occasion. Think about it. If you never get to the bottom, there’s no feeling of being finished or of having reviewed every option. Instead theres a feeling that something has been left on the table. That feeling has direct ties to your application’s usability—be it session time, drop off, frustration, or even sales and performance.

But card based UI has benefits beyond user joy. And while I could go on about how it helps developers organize content architecture, or how it helps copywriters and designers write and create for simple, incremental screens, there’s an even more compelling reason to take a closer look at this one. Because Card Based UX can yield a powerful by-product:  Data.  More than a scroll and perhaps even more than discrete taps themselves, cards create repetitive, deliberate, discrete decision moments over and over. And as the user swipes, you can learn.

The time they swipe, the speed they swipe, what they swiped, the geolocation where they swiped, and even how similar the results of that swipe are vs. a swipe earlier that session are all possibilities that are yielding smarter apps for you and me every day.

 

Examine the case of Tinder.

A dating site/app with a terrifically simple card swipe interface. You swipe to the left if you’re not interested, to the right if you are. It’s curiously addictive, and that additive phenomenon likely has something to do with the psychology of “collecting favorites” as well as “casting something/someone aside” vs. scrolling past them as you normally would.

Tinder works like walking into a room, looking around and subconsciously going ‘yes, no, yes, no’ while scanning people. If you give someone across the room that look and they give you that look back, you’re now both responding in the moment and that’s a match.–Sean Rad, Co-founder Tinder

  

Every single swipe is gathering information.

But there’s something else at play here. Something more than fun UI. Every action you make is providing Tinder with information about you and your preferences, making Tinder smarter about your likes and dislikes, and making their service better and more useful for you as it goes, their CEO has told tech pubs.

Each swipe learns about you. About your interests. About the time of day you show those interests. For example, one user who might swipe past “red-heads” in the morning will soon stop seeing those profiles in the morning. But maybe they tend to take interest in red-heads in the evening? Tinder will test you by showing them to you. If you bite, it will take note. If you don’t, red-heads will move even further down the list of options presented to you.

Of course the whole system is way more complicated than this but you get the idea. UX driven ambient listening and data gathering. Beautiful.

Now, if you are an innovation company that is as passionate about user experience design as we are, this is an ah-ha moment. The flipside of the ‘card movement’ in mobile application development has a hidden upside. Ponder that for a while. We have.