The importance of maintaining user experience

Blog | January 25, 2024

Technical debt isn’t the only debt you should be worrying about. Your user interface needs some regular maintenance, too.


When it comes to maintaining digital services, they're frequently seen as purely technical undertakings. However, this is only part of the picture. Just like the underlying technology, user interfaces that aren't regularly updated also age.

The aging of a user interface is inevitable. No matter how good or stylish it was at launch, the world around it is in a state of constant evolution. This results in shifts in user perceptions, affecting both the interface and the service it embodies.

What factors cause user interfaces to become outdated?

So, why is updating the user interface crucial, and what factors cause even the best interfaces to become outdated? Here are three example reasons:

1. Rising user expectations

People use numerous digital services throughout their waking hours. Some of these services are well-designed, while others, sadly, are not. Trends come and go, and people's expectations and criteria for a well-functioning service continue to rise and change. Users now expect the same level of seamlessness from every digital service, whether it's a local small business website or a global tech giant's app.

If a service's interface appears sluggish and outdated, users rapidly associate these shortcomings with the brand behind the service. Given the choice, they are likely to abandon such services in favor of those that meet the modern standards of functionality they've come to expect.

2. Ubiquitous usage

The COVID-19 pandemic brought remote work into the mainstream, and people's criteria for services have expanded beyond how they function to where they function. Responsiveness has been an everyday necessity for a while, but its significance has become even more pronounced. For example, white-collar employees are no longer tethered to their desks, and this oftern-repeated cliché has finally become an actual reality. Critical services are now expected to work everywhere, from Lapland to Tierra del Fuego - and on all devices.

3. Regulations and laws

Digital services and their user interfaces are already subject to various laws and regulations. For example, the EU's accessibility guidelines dictate the use of colors, fonts, contrast, and syntax of certain digital products. Similarly, GDPR and other privacy-related laws influence how websites and services must operate. It's expected that regulations will continue to increase in the future. Digital service providers will be compelled to make changes, or they could face fines, and users may simply be unable to use their service.

Maintaining user experience

Maintaining a digital service is a holistic endeavor. To ensure that a service remains functional, the technical foundation must be kept in good shape. However, it's equally important for the people and processes surrounding the service to stay up to date. And just as technology, processes, and people need upkeep, so does user experience. Even the most elegant backend process can't rescue a service that doesn't work efficiently or, worse yet, is perceived as outdated and clunky by users.

A well-maintained user interface can make all the difference in how your service is perceived by your users, and in today's digital world, those perceptions matter more than ever.

If you find digital service maintenance daunting and don't know where to start, consider checking out Kodan Skaala and contacting us. We can help you navigate the complex landscape of user interface maintenance and ensure that your digital service remains fresh and user-friendly.

This text was written by Kodan’s senior service designer, Ville Yli-Knuutila.

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