Hurdle technology is a method of ensuring pathogens in food products are eliminated or controlled. This means the food product is safe for consumption, and the shelf life will be extended.
A website also needs some kind of user poison prevention so it is safe for “consumption” and that it’s longevity (shelf life or usability or click-thru) will be increased. “Non-toxic” is a measurement of aesthetic quality and user satisfaction.
Toxic pathogens must overcome “hurdles” to remain active in food. The right combination of hurdles ensures all pathogens are eliminated or rendered harmless in the final product.
There are hurdles a website must go through also for “safety”. More on those in a minute. But the goal is to control or eliminate user frustration or struggle with the website. Frustration is toxic web poison because users are intolerant and impatient. Satisfaction is the end goal. To focus on one hurdle alone may not be enough for acceptable levels of UX.
Food hurdle technology affects food quality and sensory properties, that is its look, taste, smell and texture. Also, not unlike website user experience– it can stink or leave a bad taste in our mouth!
Examples of hurdles in a food system are high temperature during processing, low temperature during storage, increasing the acidity, lowering the water activity or redox potential, or adding preservatives. According to the type of pathogens and how risky they are, the intensity of the hurdles can be adjusted individually to meet consumer preferences in an ECONOMICAL way, without compromising the safety of the product. (Economy or efficiency is a key phrase and emphasis for websites, too.)
There can be significant synergistic effects between hurdles.
So what hurdles might exist for sanitizing and purifying website experiences?
I was hoping you’d ask that question!
I’ve mentioned these steps in a previous blog entry but here’s a summary:
1. Speed. If it’s too slow (over 2 seconds), visitors immediately and subconsciously don’t like the UX. It biases everything from that moment towards “goodness or badness” –the “halo effect”. This is proven fact. People hate slow websites even if they think the reward is worth waiting for. You will be considered rude.
2. Aesthetics. In 50 milliseconds, people evaluate the body language of the site. Is it comfortable? Is it pleasing? Is it attractive? This is before they even click anything. Again this subconscious judgment biases the “goodness or badness”. Color selection is THE most critical element here.
3. Simplified content density. This is good use of white space and readability (not legibility). It is the feeling of being inviting. It’s a seduction.
4. Content relevance. You have to get past the above 3 barriers before you get to this level of detailed interest. Actual reading of headlines and subheads (words and labels). And even these have a hierarchy. Content is scanned first for value before investing reading time. Once judgment is passed, then text is read –possibly in entirety.
Connecting the Dots
I saw a UX poster this year focused on ranking web “badness”. (UXer’s love making posters.) It inspired me to convert those thoughts into positives and abbreviate it. It now reads similar to my hurdle technology metaphor. One has to get past each step/hurdle to get to the next level of safety. At some point, there is overkill or wasted effort. If the first and most weighty matters fail, UX safety sharply diminishes. But the synergy of combinations of other UX hurdles may help compensate. Not all components must exist or be pass-fail or go-no-go. There are gradations of safety and quality. Here’s that list:
Remove usability barriers like browser incompatibility, cross-device malfunctions, horizontal scrolling, or slow page load (bloat).
Aesthetic 50ms judgment bias (site body language). Demonstrate attention to details by reducing visual clutter. Promote consistent theme with color, balance, branding, type, and symbols that are harmonious and well designed.
Completion path is obvious and requires no effort or missteps. Examples include clear links with information scent, no requests for mysterious information, and recognizable calls to action. Visual cues or signage produce the “feeling” the user is in the “right place”. The positioning strategy is plain. The users motives for seeking the site are quickly addressed. Reduced effort, frustration, and cognitive load. No disappointment from missing desired features or content.
Make reading comprehension effortless and convenient. Examples include good headlines and subheads, combining multi-step processes like forms, reduce system slowness, and eliminate or reduce annoyingly strict security requirements. Fast pacing created by removal of visual distractions or annoyances like animation. Good value analysis reduces waste and streamlines the experience. No difficult language or jargon. No long-forms, broken links, or requests for odd information.
Satisfaction << The Ideal UX Goal
This is brand affinity or overall delight. Seamlessness. Flow. Transparency. Attention to detail is perceived. Credibility is generated.
I believe these two UX Hurdle lists can easily be merged. That may be my next post. Standby for synthesis.
Can each of these UX hurdles be ranked or quantified? I think so. Even if it is relative scoring, the result would indicate improvement or superiority.
It would appear satisfaction which is a 1/3 component of the new International Standard, ISO 9241-210 has definition problems. The three measures of usability in the standard are 1) effectiveness, 2) efficiency, and 3) satisfaction. They are usually considered independently. In reality, they may all be part of a hurdle technology approach to UX measurement.
The benefit would be UX monitoring for editing. The elimination or reduction of “unmediated media”. This would be in the form of a standardized policy published in a website style guide.
Editing is the process of selecting and preparing media used to convey information through the processes of correction, condensation, organization, and other modifications in various media, performed with an intention of producing a correct, consistent, accurate, and complete output.