The Qt Company’s annual World Summit hit Berlin last week, a city that’s become increasingly popular for start-up tech companies. The messages delivered were clear: no longer can User Experience (UX) be an afterthought; it’s analogous to the criticality of integrating security, and must be considered and implemented at every stage of the design process.
Keynotes from the Qt Company themselves and their supporting cast of speakers told stories of bygone times when UX wasn’t considered at all, offering myriad historical websites with user interfaces (UI) that were visually embarrassing by today’s standards. But more importantly, they argued it provided an awful user experience.
Fast forward to today, user interfaces look increasingly prettier, but the user experience still leaves the user wanting more. In a fascinating tale told by Jared Spool, the self-proclaimed Maker of Awesomeness at Center Centre/UIE, he described one of the world’s largest corporations and their UX epiphany (after 17 years), which thrust them to the UX poster child they are today.
That talk was followed by some stats that demonstrated The Qt Company’s increasing success as the world focuses on delivering that perfect user experience. It also shows that user expectations of aesthetics and usability are higher than ever.
For too long, the industry’s drive was to pile more features into products but the reality is that it left consumers exasperated and catered merely to the techie minority. The success of the world’s most popular smartphone, which on its launch bucked the trend and ditched rather than added functionality, is evidence of the importance of the user experience.
The overriding message of the event was highlighting the communications black hole between UI designers and developers. Designers’ brains working with wireframes and imagery, whilst the developer thinking purely in code can lead to inefficient ‘ping-pong’ development – “is this how you visualised it?” “No, it needs to look like this,” “No, change this,” ad infinitum.
The launch of the Qt Company’s photoshop bridge lets graphical designers export their wares directly into Qt’s suite—removing any assumptions and perceptions, plus saving a load of migratory effort between the software packages. A live demonstration delivered by Brook Cronin and Thomas Hartmann (both of the Qt Company) showed an automotive dashboard being designed in Photoshop, imported into Qt’s suite and operational within 30 minutes.
The Qt Company also took the opportunity to announce (with the release of Qt 5.12) wider support of touch gestures and support for Python and WA (web assembly), which widens the access of Qt’s tools for UI developers, even those developing for the web.