Redefining the User Experience

The User Experience is both the lens and the core metric through which we view the goals and evaluate the success or failure of any tool, project or process.  At Meshfrog, we believe that the framework of the user experience is a critical perspective that can be used on any interaction or transaction to focus attention on the critical elements and dynamics at play.

Traditionally, “User Experience” has been used in a limited way to capture what an individual experiences and perceives when they use a piece of software to complete a task.  Key questions are usually things like, “How intuitive is the software?”  “What was frustrating for the user?” “How efficient is the interface and how many mouse clicks or keystrokes were needed to get the task done?”  While these are important and relevant questions in software design, the Meshfrog premise is that we can “Redefine the User Experience”, and in so-doing we create an expanded way of looking at any business interaction or transaction in this light.

This new and expanded view of The User Experience can include interactions such as:

  • An employee needs information on company benefits or policies. Their user experience includes things like how easy is it to find the needed information in a timely manner? How easy is the information to understand? How current and accurate is the information?
  • A team is waiting for another team to deliver a critical project document. In this case one team is the “user” and their experience is determined by how the team they are depending on performs. Issues such as timeliness, accuracy, attitude, collaboration and communication are all critical.
  • A frustrated customer calls into Customer Service to get answers. The obvious dynamic here is the User Experience of the customer.  But what about the customer service rep in the call center?  What is their user experience and how does it impact their ability to provide great customer service? Do they have access to the information they need to answer the customer’s questions? Do they have the authority and the training to give the right answers and to be honest? Do they have the right communication technologies to manage the necessary interactions – perhaps via phone, I.M., and email simultaneously?
  • An executive approves a technology project. While this executive may never directly use the technology in question, their User Experience is still important. How the project goals, progress, costs, and achievements are communicated can be critical.  After the implementation is completed, the data produced by the technology, or the processes or competitive capabilities that it empowers, as well as associated costs or problems, create an ongoing User Experience.


Meshfrog’s Five Key Elements of the Successful User Experience

1 Meaning – at the core of the user experience is the need for understanding, clarity, and purpose. Anything that thwarts these components will create frustration and be seen as a failure.

2 Aesthetics – beauty and delight are universally appreciated and have a direct impact on a positive perception of the experience.

3 Trust – characteristics such as reliability, security, and consistency are critical, especially over the long term.

4 Empowerment – is the experience flexible, inclusive, and freeing? The right degree of rules, structure and process are critical here, or the experience may be constricting or oppressive.

5 Support – handling questions, difficulties, problems, and unexpected results is a critical factor in designing any process or tool.  This is the safety net below the other four components above.


Most importantly, the priorities and objectives within each of these five key areas should be defined by every business based on their culture, values, and vision.  Each element is a critical component, but exactly how each element is addressed and how standards and expectations are set and communicated will be unique to the organization, and should be an intentional part of the corporate identity.

By first expanding the definition of the User Experience to include any interaction within a business, and then intentionally defining the desired perceptions and outcomes for a specific scenario using the Five Key Elements as guideposts, both the lens and the metric of “User Experience” become powerful tools and important parts of the vocabulary that a business uses to define its culture, approach and priorities.

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