Many vendors highlight user experience as a key element of their offerings. Quality of user experience is an important factor in many technology purchase decisions, but not all. Focus on it in the wrong circumstance can lead to overlooking more pertinent factors. While it is hard to find anyone who says user experience is not important, it does not mean that they always base their purchase decision on it. A couple of such circumstances:
- Areas where the user is neither a customer nor someone whose preference is significant for decision making. For instance, a provider with an interesting solution in analyzing transactions for fraud spoke to me about the better user interface capabilities in their product compared to competition. But, many banks either outsource that particular function or perform it using contractors. User interface is not among the critical requirements here.
- Areas where there is scant evidence of customer user experience translating into more customers, more business or better retention. This can occur in product and services where there are high switching costs or a lack of alternatives.
Both these do not imply that that good user experience is not needed; there will be an acceptable level that will be needed, but anything beyond it may not influence the purchase decision.
Though I picked user interface to speak about, this is not restricted to it. Broadly, vendors have to carefully pick the critical factors that impact the purchase decision and solve for them first and not assume that certain ones are always among the top priorities.
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