Designing with a user's needs in mind is not new, but today it's more important than ever. Now that every company has an app or website, these touchpoint experiences can be a key differentiator between you and your competition.
Designing the ideal user experience is one thing, but designing it when your users rely on your product in times of crisis is quite another. Providing users on the verge of crisis with a good user experience is vital. We should strive to understand how our users perceive, think, feel and use our products, because getting it wrong can have a catastrophic effect on product success.
When stressed, we consume a lot of cognitive resources. In fact, you might not have the mental capacity to process what you are seeing, so much so that even thinking clearly becomes challenging. When designing a product, understanding the context, state of mind of the user, and the environment is key.
Stress often causes people to perceive the task as complex, time-consuming, and difficult. Our goal as UX designers is to make the user feel like the tasks are doable, under control and easy to achieve.
When designing for stressed users, you should pay extra attention to the following UX principles:
- Map the user journey in terms of the user context
- Take into account human cognitive abilities
- “Don't make me think”
- Increase situational awareness without causing information overload
- Reduce the number of choices to a minimum
- Provide the right amount of information to help users react to certain situations.
- Break long processes into small steps and give the user small wins
- Whenever possible, do the heavy lifting for your users
- Help the user predict the outcomes of their actions. Predicting interactions creates trust in the product and makes the user feel like they’re in control.
- Always inform users about what is happening
- Provide the option of going back if an incorrect decision is made
- Have responsive and effective support services
At Own, we adhere to these principles when designing all of our products, but particularly our Recover product. Often when customers use Recover, they need to restore lost or corrupted data as a matter of urgency, which can be quite stressful. They are not only worried about their ability to get the data back, but the cascading impacts the incident might have on them, their team, and the company.
We do this by simplifying the data recovery process, breaking it down into three easy steps, therefore minimizing stress and anxiety for our users:
- Compare - Visually identify lost and corrupted data
- Preview - Review the data
- Restore - Run and track the recovery process
Failing to recognize the mental state of a user can lead to the association of your product with the crisis, raising negative feelings. To minimize this risk, good design must anticipate this. The more complicated and potentially stressful your product or task, the simpler it should be.
Following these principles will allow you to deliver products that users trust, build loyalty, and help your business grow.
Own is growing rapidly and is currently hiring multiple positions, including UX designers. Take a look at what it's like to work at Own!