User Experience for Developers

Last week I gave a presentation at a developers conference on user experience for developers. You can view it here. I have been working with front end developers for many years now. I find that only a few really understand user experience and design. The objective was to give developers enough understanding so that they catch simple UI issues and be able to better work with UX designers.

It used to be that the goal was all about making things possible on the web. But we have gone way beyond that. Now it is all about making web and mobile apps  extremely easy to use.

The goal today is to have your users be more productive with less training when first using your app. AND you want them to feel more satisfaction after having used your app.

This can be challenging for some developers to grasp. Developers tend to be very left brain focused, trying to solve problems with code. UX designers tend to be very right brain oriented, looking at the holistic with an intuitive approach. Coders want to be efficient where as UX designers want to give the users a simple, great experience.

Here's the definition of user experience:

UX is the measure of friction between a user and their goal

There are two types of friction: cognitive friction and emotional friction. Cognitive friction are any mental challenges that slow the user down. Emotional friction are any feeling challenges that get in the way. A great user experience yields three feelings: one of delight, satisfaction and feeling productive. All three lead to loyal users who become valuable proponents of your product.

UX is learning how to code for a new platform —the human brain.

Often times, developers make coding decisions that only benefit themselves and can hinder users, thereby creating more cognitive friction. So the focus needs to be:


Some common UX traps for web and mobile apps include:

A UX focus helps us to present data in a meaningful way. It has us using terms that our target user will understand. It only shows just enough information. UX codes for the common user, not the edge cases. UX is consistent with a very clean UI.

The web has evolved quite a bit since the 1990s and 2000s. There are many "notions" that are no longer true. For example:

So what is cognitive friction anyway in a user interface? Cognitive friction is anything that increases needless brain activity for the users. Cognitive friction slows the user down by breaking their flow of thinking.

So what causes cognitive friction?

Being aware that user experience is important will help you, the developer, understand that working with your UX designer is really important.


Combining PM & UX

Value of Design

Value of Wireframes

UX Design Tools

Importance of Personas

Outside In Thinking

Got Wireframes?

UX for Developers

Learn to Code

Full Stack Development

Node Overview

Single Page Apps

Power of Introverts

Products That Sell Themselves

Future of Content

Learning Startup

Willing to Pivot

Cultural Differences

Rarely Say Never