The Evolution of Utility

JAKOB NIELSEN DEVISED USABILITY HEURISTICS IN 1995 that, during the past two decades, became widely adopted as normative web standards, and ultimately evolved into UX Best Practices.

To sum them up:

  • visibility/ consistency – being able to see, learn and recognize

  • accessibility/ flexibility – ease of use

  • minimalist design – the omission of non value-added content and standardization of design elements

  • error prevention – originally good UX practice, but is now an expectation; and

  • speedy access to help.

While these five usability tenets remain critical, user consciousness has expanded during the past 20 years, with the creation of millions of user personas. User 4.2s’ engineering skills and marketing acumen has also grown, along with their awareness of omnipresent potential. Users today have advanced expectations that their preferences be met throughout the journey to destination, almost as much as demand for quick arrival/ success. Digital strategy research centered on human preference modeling indicates that users expect web/ app experiences to be aligned with their expectations of:

  • effective and expedient flow (roadblock and error free)

  • intelligent (absorbent, recalculating)

  • aware (topical, clever and mindful)

  • competent/ secure/ credible (no worries/ expectations are met)

  • emotional satisfaction/ appeal (attainment)

  • advanced preferences are important (no more dumbing down)

  • intersectional (ability to interact cross-web/ transcend pronouns).