Mobile and Responsive Dev

Don't Build Another 'Ghost Town'

Jan. 21 2014
Lamin Turay
Channel Manager

Validating User Experience (UX) Best Practices

The recent rash of “Ghost Towns” popping up all over China has really got me thinking about User Experience (UX) and building something that is functional over something that just looks pretty. Or things that are a great concept on paper, but terrible in practice…like Communism.  For a little context, there are towns and villages springing up all over the suburbs of major Chinese cities and they are sparsely populated to the point of near abandonment. These towns are designed to mimic historic and bucolic European Alpine villages that are popular in fairy tales and fictional stories.

Alpine Springs a China Ghost TownThe Ghost Towns are beautiful; they have colorful facades and classic cobblestone streets.The only problem is there are few if any residents living in these villages. Why? Real estate surplus aside, there has been very little thought to the social, cultural and lifestyle aspects of the Chinese home and this often results in very pretty rows of houses that might appeal to the architect but are not functional to the average Chinese homeowner.

You might be asking how this applies to web development, or why this in the UX section of our blog. And these are apt questions to be asking. Allow me to connect the dots.

Often times while surfing the web or reviewing designer mock ups for client projects I come across good looking designs with very little thought to the final product, or the end user. A site can be a visually appealing masterpiece but if it does not provide value to the client or the user than it is too much like the Ghost Towns in China. When building sites, integrating third party platforms or other technical projects we always want to ensure that the end functionality is something that will provide value, is functional, and is something that users will use over and over again.

Cobblestone streets of China Ghost Town

Have you been to a site that has a great look, but makes very little sense or is laid out in a way that is so unintuitive that you navigate elsewhere? In todays hyper competitive market and extreme battle for the customers attention (not to mention shorter attention spans) it is more important than ever to build for usability rather than prettiness.

This is how we define User Experience - building something that is used over and over again and is an extension of the end user. Yes, visually appealing design is something that we prefer but over that we always lean to the side of usability. Because, building something no one uses is a waste of time and money.

At Achieve we strive to deliver on the promise of great UX in every development project we deliver. As experts in Drupal Development we have honed our skills over the course of 10 years and are able to deliver meaningful UX on all of our projects. Regardless of whether or not the client asks us for it or not, they are guaranteed a UX that will generate a ‘Wow’ every time they use their new system.  That is the most important thing for us at Achieve, developing platforms and solutions that are functional, elegant, and blow away our clients expectations.

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