When any product is created — a website, an app, an Enterprise system —the question most people ask is pretty simple: “How do people use this thing?”

I’m of the mind that a different question should be asked:

“How do people use this site in the context of everything else they’re doing online to achieve their goals?”

The bar is high out there. We are all multitasking, and most of us aren’t very good at it. So we’re busy and we’re distracted and we never have enough time. That means the things that do get our attention have to be a cut above, clearly differentiated.

While technological innovations continue to challenge designers, developers and their clients, it’s all too easy for organizations to lose sight of the fact that  deeper insight into the needs, goals activities and external forces influencing end-users is also mission critical. And all too often, the big three (time, budget & resources) force teams to relegate more comprehensive UX research and analysis to the back burner.

However, there is no reason to completely sacrifice good UX and design. The following 5 core UX attributes can — and should — be considered in every project, no matter the constraints:

  1. Usability – Can people jump in with both feet and get started? Do they know at a glance where they are and what they can do? Can they accomplish core tasks quickly and easily without needing training?
  2. Appeal – What will make the product useful or valuable in the customer’s eyes? What can you give them that they (a) don’t have currently and (b) can’t live without?
  3. Accessibility – Where and how will people use the product? On laptops? Mobile phones? Tablets? All three? Do your product’s functions, features and user interface scale appropriately on all platforms?
  4. Performance – Speed equals responsiveness int he minds of users. How responsive is the app or system? Does it load and respond to input quickly?
  5. User Assistance & Help – What happens when people get stuck or something unexpected happens? Is help available, obvious and actually helpful?

Consider these attributes in the context of your larger business objectives. Look for the “sweet spots” where the two overlap — these are the areas where you can make the biggest impact and create the most value for customers. In doing so, value returns to the product owner as well.

Which, of course, could be you.