Total experience quality: integrating performance, usability, and application design

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. User expectations of a modern application
  3. Modern app backend design
  4. Modern app front-end design
  5. Challenges of modern app project management
  6. Staffing and workflow challenges
  7. Designing for speed
  8. Bringing performance, usability, and app design together
  9. Key takeaways
  10. About Rich Morrow

1. Summary

As the number of consumption models in the digital delivery landscape has grown so has the burden on application designers. From desktop to web to phone to tablet and beyond, many designers create an entirely new user experience (UX) for each target platform — but often in a vacuum. Despite a growing acceptance of responsive design principles and the improvement of cross-platform tools, designers frequently target one primary platform.

One result is that decisions made during design can be barriers to performance down the road. When new platforms launch, performance is typically an afterthought to be optimized later. This is short-sighted: Lack of performance out of the gate can quickly doom a web or mobile-based app (both referred to here as apps). It is imperative that performance considerations play a front-seat role in the entire UX equation.

User experience is heavily dependent on underlying technical structure, and those structural choices are often dictated by usability. To navigate the possibilities of native, hybrid, and responsive designs and the myriad backend services that support them, UX designers must have an intimate knowledge of the limits to which they can push app performance. This report will help designers make educated, value-driven decisions about app experiences.

Key findings include:

  • The separation of an application’s content and logic is a necessary first step toward increased performance, but it must also be paired with a strategy that places both as close to the user as possible.
  • By speeding the delivery of both static and dynamic content, a content delivery network (CDN) is the most effective tool to increase performance, usability, and user satisfaction.
  • Cross-platform compilers abstract device-specific considerations from front-end design, increasing developer freedom and efficiency.
  • A devops approach that pairs agile project management practices with case-specific tools is essential for fast, high-quality iterations.



Thumbnail image courtesy: iStock/Thinkstock

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