Bad UX kills business - Schindler Creations

Bad UX kills business

Enough reason to give increased focus to better UX.

Often, the focus lies on what good UX entails, but rarely is there a focus on bad UX and what the consequences are.

 

Business consequence

The consequences of bad UX leads to confusion, frustration and even anger for users. While this is enough reason to give increased focus to better UX, a human centered UX focus is far more important than just the user experience, but its consequences for the business can be detrimental to productivity. We so often associate UX with users, and yet the real damage of bad UX has its greatest impact on the business of companies. Bad UX for an operator can lead to a lack of productivity, wasted time and money, disenchanted customers and ultimately loss of business. This is not disconnected to the operators’ experience. His productivity obviously has a direct impact on the productivity of potentially fellow operators, the amount of production the factory can accomplish, and most damagingly diminished job satisfaction. All these things filter from the bottom to the very top of the businesses goals. Frustrated operators may impact the level of skilled workers they need through reputation, or even make factories struggle to hire the resources they need to achieve their work load. It may lead to experienced employees leaving the company for improved job satisfaction. All this due to a user experience that is confusing or complicated.

„Developers spend, on average, close to 50% of their time making changes after initial development.“

Bad UX fact

Digital and physical touchpoints

This is particularly relevant in the manufacturing industry where UX does not solely mean interfaces, but also HMI in general including physical touchpoints, such as buttons, physical machines, factory floors and of course multiple different interfaces for different user roles. The manufacturing industry also requires simplified UX attention due to the very technical, engineering background it stems from, so it is no surprise that holistic UX is present across all touchpoints of manufacturing factories and their many touchpoints.

BAD UX IS LIKE A SLAP IN YOUR FACE

Here are a few key touchpoints where bad UX can typically be found, from the operator, across the factory floor, right up to the consequences these have for business.

„68% of customers who leave a business say that they left because they felt like the business didn’t care about them.“

Bad UX fact

User perspective

In the manufacturing industry UX is more complex than web design or application design, it needs to translate complex engineering processes, and multiple workflows into digestible intuitive experiences that optimizes the operators workflow. UX Designers of Schindler Creations create experiences that will fit the user’s mental model, not the system model. While industrial systems are complex, the user’s experience and perception of a system need not be complex. A literal depiction of a system provides users with unwanted information that negatively impacts their cognitive load.

For example, system drawings are common in industrial environments. They show the roles and relationships of systems in the process flow. They are useful as reference material when testing system continuity and during the initial build. Unfortunately, many HMI designers simply repurpose such schematics when creating running HMI visualizations, putting their own convenience above that of users. While system schematics do provide a visual representation of the system and process, using these complex drawings can be problematic because they aren’t designed to support the mental model of the user monitoring a system.

A system visualization that is more intentional in its design and helps users quickly understand the state of the system, as well as what information is most important or needs their attention. Users who are monitoring a process can better understand a visualization that arranges related content into logical groupings that the human brain can more efficiently process. Varying the intensity, contrast, size, and shape of the elements on the display helps make its overall information architecture more apparent. While visualizations might be better than alphanumeric data, that doesn’t mean they should be photo-realistic or skeuomorphic depictions of the actual production environment, a common characteristic of many poorly designed HMIs. Anything that doesn’t add value should not appear on the screen, or will only lead to slower workflows, confused operators and possibly increased mistakes.

Wasted Time & MONEY

Bad UX very quickly presents itself before a system has barely been implemented. Developers spend, on average, close to 50% of their time making changes after initial development. This is all down to Bad UX processes and approach in the early design phases. What’s more is that making changes after development is almost 100x more costly than designing and developing with good UX practices from the start. The cost of fixing usability problems grows exponentially from design to development to release. The most cost-friendly solution is to design with user experience in mind from the get go.

Factory floor

Bad UX doesn’t just present itself on the screen either. Factory floors, can be huge UX problems. From slippery floors, to warm working conditions, crowded factory floor planning, to uncomfortable noise levels, or bad communications within the factory. All of these environmental topics, can lead to affecting the emotions of factory workers, and factory operations and productivity.

Lost business

68% of customers who leave a business say that they left because they felt like the business didn’t care about them. By designing an experience for your specific users, you make them feel welcome and cared for. More and more UX is less associated with usability in the classical sense and more about customer service and support. Whether it is external maintenance support who are difficult to contact, or slow to respond. Or Customer service that isn’t transparent, leaving customers not even knowing if their requests or problems are being dealt with. UX today is as much about fostering business and customer relationships and communication channels that empower people. Even if a business’s product is not as good as others on the market, loyalty can mainly be achieved through strong customer service and support, before a superior product.

Avoiding Bad UX

There are of course ways to avoid bad UX. It may seem that there are so many touchpoints to fall short, that how can we possibly avoid failing in at least one or two of them. At Schindler Creations we work with our partners closely, using a human centered UX approach and work holistically. This means that when we design a software or a machine, we consider everything around it, from the factory floor to the service and support and the very business models that our partners have. After all bad UX is bad business and UX is our tool to bring business success and competitive advantage to our partners.

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