UX Magazine

Defining and Informing the Complex Field of User Experience (UX)
Article No. 482 February 10, 2010

Gartner weighs in on the issue of Flash vs. HTML5

Check out this interesting post by Gartner's Ray Valdes, HTML5 and the future of Adobe FlashOur favorite part:

Lastly, the average enterprise won’t effectively use Flash or HTML5 or any other shiny new UI technology. Because the root problem as I see it is not lack of powerful UI technology. Instead, the root causes for sub-optimal user experience have to do with lack of appropriate process, and governance, and lack of a genuine commitment to a quality user experience. Such a commitment would lead organizations to adopt a user-centered usability-oriented development process. Rather than taking these steps, we see a lot of projects that are “stakeholder driven” (i.e., driven by internal politics). Very few organizations center development around user needs by relying on objectively measured data about user behavior. Most enterprises don’t care enough about the user experience to change their habits (developer-driven, vendor-driven, stakeholder-driven). The principles of creating effective user experiences are well-known among successful external-facing ecommerce or consumer sites such as Amazon, Ebay, Expedia or Facebook. Unfortunately, it will likely be a long time before these principles become part of the average enterprise skillset.

Full article here.


User Profile

Jonathan (@first_day) is a tech-focused jack of all trades and the editor-in-chief of UX Magazine. He is also the author of Effective UI: The Art of Building Great User Experience in Software, published by O'Reilly Media. Through its partnership with UX Magazine, Jonathan is also a senior advisor to Didus, a recruiting and career development company focused on user-centered professionals. As well, Jonathan is Managing Director, Product Strategy & Design for Dapperly, a fashion-oriented software product startup, and he is the Principal of First Day, a small private equity and consulting company. From 2005 to 2009, Jonathan helped found EffectiveUI, a leading UX strategy, design, and development agency focused on web, desktop, and mobile systems.

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I agree with your analysis and credit your insight in identifying the root of the problem. I would like to take it further.

As designers we can work on the root problem. If the root problem is a stakeholder driven design for example, then we can as the question "what can we as designer do to solve this problem." We, designers, are in the business of persuading people to spend money on things. Why can we not use our skills to persuade our bosses to spend money on user centered design? We can make information diagrams explaining the problem, ROI estimates. Generate A/B testing strategies that demonstrate the results of a user centered design decision and prove it with click counts.

The bigger question I have to wonder about is how we as designers could have failed so badly at this. Are we not persuasive enough? did we not understand our audience? did we need more pictures in our appeal? is the argument inherently week and we need to get a big picture to see it? The sad truth is that if someone came to me with this problem and asked me how to change the situation, I'd probably recommend a Business management professional to discover the problem details working with a graphic designer to sell the idea internally.

Demonstrating the direct impact good UX has on a company is difficult but not impossible.

If it could be demonstrated it would show that creating an Amazon or eBay clone does not automatically replicate that company's commitment to the user experience.

I was complaining on Twitter the other day about all the e-commerce sites out there with copy-and-paste product descriptions and photos that are quite obviously copy-and-paste jobs. Badly formatted, truncated, low-quality photos where the "large version" is the same size as the thumbnail. The user experience is not just in the UI, it's in everything about how you conduct your business and interface with customers.

But with so many economic, financial, leadership and cultural vectors going into differentiating successful and liked companies from mediocre ones many businesses won't notice the UX factor and thus continue to make the same mistakes, relegating UX to some backroom checklist role.

We do - although that's because we're moving more and more into web applications, and html5 is helping us design better, faster apps.

*facepalm* Exactly. This is a gigantic wall that we slam into on a daily basis.

So true!