A Good UX is More than A Formula

I had been thinking about how to best frame this thought, and think that a math equasion might have the answer, or at least a better descriptor:

When it comes to one’s user experience on a mobile device, the best equasion is to start with the answer. Usually, that answer is something communitcated, and is usually feedback. From that point, you start bending and breaking down that final message into the data parts, and finally into the technical schemes that it will take to make that data happen. Then you go back to you solution, and using that as your base, you simplify your data parts and schemes until you come up with a workflow that might be complex, but has little friction throughout.

This is how my mind has been running around UX lately. Especially in the past days where I took off of my mobile device one of the better applications that I use on it (Nokia Messaging Email) because I wanted to better overall user experience for my mobile device.

I started with the solution: I don’t care for email, but need to receive it for notification and business needs. Receviing such email needs to happen without me provoking the device to find it, but should not reduce my battery to nill before the end of a workday (for me that’s about 7PM).

Nokia Messaging mostly did this. However, the inclusion of this software meant that my overall user expereince with my mobile device would degrade. For example, I’d suffer memory leaks, loss of storage space, and general flackiness around the device because of this software. While it did what it did very well, the value I would return diminished more often than I cared to admit.

The solution was to therefore make a choice: which UX did I value more? That of the email application or that of the entire device.

I chose the overall device.

This meant that I needed to remove that application, and bear with the friction which would be introduced by using the built-in Messaging application for email. This meant secondary support for HTML messages. I’d have to grapple with no formatting to email messages at all, even URLs would be exploded. I’d have to deal with downloading headers and detail information, before getting the rest of the message in a secondary download. I’d have to deal with only being able to set two of my three accounts to automatic retrevial (which has turned into a blessing of sorts).

I don’t like the friction. But, I’m typing now on a device that has a whole lot less issues than it had. That’s been a great deal more stable – despite other apps not liking the limited RAM so much. My perception of how fast this device is has improved, which is interesting considering its probably long-overdue for another firmware update.

I’m happier with the over all experience of using my mobile device because I subtracted an application that I was also reasonably pleased with.

Sometimes, a positive user experience is the divorce of a specific positive UX factor. Anything that reduces the overall friction though should be considered. And it would seem that in my case with this device, I’ve made the right decision in removing the right part.