Recently I have seen a new wave of system intelligence where the mobile app or software accesses data from other apps on the device making it easier for the user when they are filling out forms or contact information etc.
For example, when you log in ‘Lyft- the transportation network company’, the user is required to enter a code sent on their mobile phone. This is very common practice across most apps but with Lyft, the mobile app automatically imports the code from the SMS service to the app. Cool. Right?
Similarly, if you have ever used the resume template in Microsoft word you would have noticed that as soon as you open the template it automatically imports your name and feeds the ‘Name’ section.
A few days back I noticed that even Facebook does a similar thing, where it asks me if I want to upload my mobile camera photos to Facebook and shows me a preview of recently clicked photos.
(Here I would like to add a caveat that I am not a big supporter of these new designs which import data because for me its a reminder of invasion of my privacy. It’s a reminder that Lyft, Facebook etc are accessing all my text messages and other data on my mobile.)
But there are many similar yet less invasive designs which import facts based on data you provide . For example, I was signing up for the tableau free service today and I noticed that as soon as I put my email id firstname.lastname@example.org in the form, it automatically fed University of Washington in the ‘company name’ section.
I have also noticed in certain applications that as soon as I type my pin code the contact form automatically fills in the city and state for me.
The point I am trying to address with this write up is that, that UX is more than just research, information architecture, layouts, typography, user flow, buttons etc. Its more than just what appears to the eye. It’s about how less the cognitive load on the user is. True user experience boils down to how much did you make the user think or do to reach their goal. The smoother the process, the shorter the process, the better it is. Such intelligent use of data is also part of User Experience. UX encompasses research, design, content, analysis, strategy, architecture, development and much more.
UX is not a part of the process, UX is the process.