UX’s worst enemies aren’t who you’d expect

We all agree that UXs are not always at the level we, as users, deserve, despite many companies’ sincere desire and ambition to improve them. Sadly, the worst offenders of high-quality UX live and operate within the same companies in charge of the UX.

Who are those people or departments actively sabotaging any improvement to the UX? They call themselves monetization experts and their goal is to squeeze every penny out of a product or service, no matter what. On top of making users’ lives miserable, their decisions generate new UX monsters and kill the branding strategy of the digital marketing departments.

As users, too many times, we get assaulted by intrusive popups promoting irrelevant lateral products and services. Other times, we see the number of steps required to reach our objectives doubles because of annoying recommendations and suggestions pushing us toward unnecessary upgrades, side-grades, cross-grades, upsells, etc. 

How people tolerate ads as a way to pay for free services/software? here is a breakdown by age groups.

I assume there is also a generational factor at play. Apparently millennials understand the necessity of ads in order for brands to inform the public of their products and services (79%) and many say that overall, ads don’t bother them (46%) — especially if the content they’re viewing is free (75%).
Two examples from one of the most prominent players in digital products and services: Google. 

YouTube

Annoying popup promoting the upgrade to YouTube Premium subscription.

YouTube started as an easy way to share and watch videos. Gradually Google added more and more invasive and aggressive ads, and lately, they began to promote YouTube TV obsessively. Several times a day, when I’m watching a YouTube video for pleasure or work, I have to turn off the Google offer for a YouTube Premium subscription. We are not talking about a free service anymore. YouTube supports itself with longer and longer video advertising appearing before, during, and after each video. 

Watching a video on YouTube is now a painful experience, and I’m ready to switch to a different platform as soon as it becomes available. Thanks, Google monetization experts!

Google Pay

The new user interface of Google Pay (G Pay) is prioritizing monetization over User experience.

When Google Pay arrived on the Android platform as a competitor to the famous Apple Pay, I was an early adopter. I could finally pay for small expenses with my phone—no more need to carry a credit card with me. A few months ago, Google released a new version of the app, replacing the icon, changing the name to G Pay, and reorganizing the user interface. The simple swappable list of credit cards in memory is now covered by an intrusive popup that can’t be closed or removed. The popup promotes irrelevant features, like pay your friends in India or unrelated nearby businesses.

My typical interaction with G Pay

I’m at the cash register of a grocery store or supermarket, ready to complete the checkout transaction. There is a line of customer behind me waiting to go through the checkout. I take my phone out of my pocket and start the G Pay app. The app starts but I can’t see which credit card G Pay is currently selected and it will be charged. An annoying and irrelevant list of other local nearby businesses and promotions is taking all the screen space. Instead of my credit cards list, I see a link to a nearby nail salon and a recommendation to use G Pay at a nearby gas station. After a few tentative to locate the credit card I plan to charge, I gave up and I reach out for my wallet to get a physical credit card and to complete the transaction. 


A big thanks to Google monetization experts for killing the UX, destroying a decently working app, and wasting my time.