Object-Oriented UX: The easiest method for complex products.

Object-Oriented UX: The easiest method for complex products.

Just Imagine getting to a fruit store and not immediately finding fruits there or getting to a bus station and having to start looking around or waiting for the bus to arrive, it’s always very frustrating, right?

That’s exactly how users feel when they get to your product and don’t immediately get what they are looking for. When products don’t prioritize the objects users are actually in search of, there would be confusion and frustration in users. It goes without saying that users come to an app with a fixed objective in mind, therefore, it makes sense to design the product based on fulfilling those objectives. 

Here's a little introduction for you to understand what Object-oriented UX Design means,

Object-oriented UX (OOUX) is a method for structuring a space that emphasizes the objects – that is the things users interact with. It is a design procedure that places importance on how users are presented with information while using a product. It helps the Information presented to be organized in a manner that will match up with the user’s mental model. 

Object-oriented UX Design is basically an ‘objects-first’ approach to product design. With Object-oriented UX Design, you are presenting users with the main objects (elements) immediately they come on board, so they can get a clear direction with the product and not leave confused.

Let’s delve quite deeper and we shall consider this in the remainder of this blog:

  • What is Object-oriented UX Design?
  • Why should one consider the OOUX process?
  • How does OOUX work

Are you ready, let’s get cracking!

1. What is Object-oriented UX Design?

The bulk of our brain’s processing ability is focused on categorizing details gathered by our senses of sight, touch, and hearing into our perceptual reality. Our brains look out for physical objects, find the ones we like to use, and then try to look for similar objects in any new environment we enter into. We seek continuity and proximity and convert all of that information into objects and build relationships between them.

The UX design process advocates the belief that for any process to be understandable, it has to be built atop an established mental model.

For instance, a person looking to play tennis has to first learn to hit the ball using the racquet before learning about the points system. While this is rather obvious, think back to the times when you’ve just opened a new app for the first time and it asked you to sign up before you went any further. What was the immediate feeling you experienced? Taken aback? Discomfort? Mistrust? Turn off?

Well, it is natural to feel confused when asked to jump head-first into navigating tasks without having a firm grasp on the objects that underpin those tasks.

2. Why you should consider the Object-oriented UX Design process?

Broken objects are one of the biggest user experience failures. To avoid them, one should leverage the ‘object-oriented UX (OOUX)’ principle, a philosophy that is focused on figuring out and modeling the user’s world, then reflecting that mental model of real-world objects in the digital environments we design.

“The idea is that before you design any screens, before you even wireframe or work on the UI, you’re going to answer the following questions: what are the objects in the user’s world, what are they made of, how do they connect, and how do they relate to the user. If you get those questions answered and make sure that they’re clearly reflected in the user interface, you have a much better chance of this user interface being intuitive.”

3. How does Object-oriented UX Design work?

OOUX isn’t really new, it has been around for a long time since it was known as ‘modular design'. Ever since, it has evolved, expanded, and been renamed the ORCA process created by Sophia Prater, which maps out the entire OOUX framework.

Note that the OOUX is most useful for complex experiences which have many interrelated instances of things/objects. Specifically, data that has:

  • Structure,
  • Instances,
  • Purpose.

For instance, the digital healthcare ecosystem with multiple users (providers, patients, carers, pharmacists, insurance providers) using a multi-layered system to book appointments, create medicine subscriptions, upload and access health reports, manage insurance plans, and more.

The OOUX is built around the ORCA process –

  • Objects — the tangible things in a user’s mental model of the system.
  • Relationships — how and when objects interconnect and nest.
  • Calls-to-Action — the actions a user can take with an Object.
  • Attributes — the content/metadata which builds Object instances.

We shall be exploring the OOUX design process in detail in a later blog, but it is important for design practitioners to understand that object-oriented UX can be applied to designing a range of digital experiences. However, its application is more suitable for more complex systems – such as enterprise applications where it’s crucial for objects to be represented consistently across different touchpoints. We will dig deeper into using the OOUX process to enhance usability by aligning with user expectations, reducing accidental complexity due to extraneous design elements, and building and maintaining the product without disturbing its structural integrity.

To wrap it all up,

OOUX isn't just a process; it teaches you a new, more practical, comprehensive approach to product, design, and development work and improves your overall skills. It can help keep the Information Architecture lean and simple while scaling your application. 

Looking to design complex products?

You can make use of this approach or get across to us for effective consultation or help.

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