User Experience: Functionality vs Aesthetics
User experience is always about a balance. When creating a positive user experience for clients and customers, you have to consider the overall usage. While a design might have a great cohesive look that you want to go with, you don’t want to sacrifice functionality for your users. No matter how good a program or website looks –it’s useless if it’s not something that people can actually use. Bottom line? Don’t let your OCD get in the way of user experience. It doesn’t have to be asymmetrical, it has to be functional.
If you think about functionality and ease of use before anything else, you are on the right track. How pretty it looks is not as important as how well it works. Obviously you want a balance of both. In theory, having your program, website, or app be both aesthetically pleasing and easy to use is ideal. However, when it comes down to it, don’t sacrifice features and functions that will make people’s user experience more enjoyable for the sake of making it look more balanced on a screen. If you find yourself adding another category for the sake of even numbers or deleting tabs for a more balanced look, you have to consider how people are actually using your product. Is a certain look worth a less than simple experience for the user? The answer is no.
Keep in mind that yes, you are designing, but you are designing for ease of use. You are enhancing user satisfaction with your product. Being symmetrical is not what is going to stand out to a user. When you over design and over plan, you lose focus. Functionality is your biggest tool. Use it.
There is obviously no “one size fits all” approach to user experience and user design. At the end of the day though, you are creating an end product that serves a function. This is a product that users have to interact with and one that you want people to walk away from feeling no sense of frustration. Think user centered development. You definitely want to deliver a great first impression and you can do this through the way your product looks. However, the real impression that will stick is the overall experience that a user has while interacting with your page. Keep function at the forefront and let your OCD slip a little.
What is your opinion on functionality vs aesthetics? Is one more important than the other? Is a balance of both necessary? Can you create a great user experience without truly focusing on function? What are your thoughts? Comment below!
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