I’ll Gladly Pay You Tuesday for a Hamburger Today: Managing UX Debt

session / Jack Moffett

We take on financial debt to enable the purchase of a house, a car, or an education long before we can afford it. We do so assuming that we will be able to make good on the loan, paying it back over time. User Experience Debt is a very similar concept. Our products may acquire debt in the form of technical, functional, behavioral, and visual deficiencies through both responsible and irresponsible actions, and we must address that debt over time. If we don’t deal with UX debt successfully, we will eventually reach a state in which our products are so painful to use that even our existing customers will seek out better tools from our competitors. Stop writing I.O.U.’s to your users. Explore the 15 primary sources of UX debt, both intentional and unintentional, and learn how to identify debt in your products. Then put in place a process by which your team can classify existing debt, prioritize it, and address it. Finally, establish practices for avoiding UX debt in the future.