Hulu App Shows How Design Affects User Experience

Design, functionality and security are all vital parts of creating a successful application or piece of software. All three pieces directly affect user experience, which is what drives success.

Recently, TechCruch broke down five elements of streaming powerhouse Hulu’s app that need improvement. Why do they need improvement? Because the elements negatively affect user experience. This is something that happens all of the time, a company develops software or an application for their product that is fully functional, but not user-friendly. Often, a disagreement ensues about which side of the project is more important, but the truth is they both matter.

Applications and software have three major components that need to be considered: functionality (Under the hood, does it do what it’s supposed to?), design (Will your target market find your product easy to use?) and security. All three components are equally as important as the next. As much as each department would like to think that their part of the project is more important than the others, that’s just not the case.

When it comes to security, which has been all over the news of late, it is incredibly important to ensure the privacy and safety of your customer’s information. They are trusting you with that information in exchange for a service you provide, and if you don’t hold up your end of the deal, the consequences are real. Fines from compliance bodies, legal reparations, cost to secure what was exposed, loss of business due to lack of trust, etc. With security in the news as it is, most businesses are taking note and understanding how important it is.

The design of an app or piece of software can literally make or break its success. If the user experience is good, then people will continue to use it. For the experience to be positive, the design needs to be organized in a way that intuitively clicks with a user. If a user can’t figure out where to find what they need, they won’t use your product. The design needs to feel like the user wouldn’t change things.

Before delving into functionality, let’s discuss the creative process for designing software or an application. Creativity is incredibly important to the process because outside-the-box thinking can result in something even better than what was originally planned. So it’s typically better to let creativity flow. Now, that said, to mesh with functionality, design needs to be grounded in the reality of the business needs and what is functionally possible. You can’t make a vehicle that hauls like freight train, that looks like a Ferrari and drives like a motorcycle. This is where groups have to work together to find the balance that serves the product.

Which brings us to functionality. The functionality of an app or piece of software can also make or break its success. If an app works like it’s supposed to and doesn’t break or need updates every other day, it’s likely that people will continue to use it. But if an app breaks all the time, is fragile and/or needs updates on a regular basis, users will get tired of dealing with it and find another product that doesn’t break all the time.

User experience is what drives the success of every application and piece of software. And if your target market happens to be your own employees, be sure to consider if you should even build that software or if you should buy it. Regardless of the target market, design, functionality and security all combine to directly affect user experience, so they must work together to create a positive experience. And if you don’t have a team that can make that happen, remember, there are always experts out there willing to help build your product for you!

Businesses should be doing whatever it takes to ensure a positive user/customer experience. Hulu has a huge user base and a highly desirable product offering, so users will continue using their product while they fix their experience. But most business won’t be that lucky. Ultimately, that’s what keeps businesses alive and well!

About the Author

Pieter VanIperen, Managing Partner of PWV Consultants, leads a boutique group of industry leaders and influencers from the digital tech, security and design industries that acts as trusted technical partners for many Fortune 500 companies, high-visibility startups, universities, defense agencies, and NGOs. He is a 20-year software engineering veteran, who founded or co-founder several companies. He acts as a trusted advisor and mentor to numerous early stage startups, and has held the titles of software and software security executive, consultant and professor. His expert consulting and advisory work spans several industries in finance, media, medical tech, and defense contracting. Has also authored the highly influential precursor HAZL (jADE) programming language.

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