Today, we thrive on instant gratification: consuming the news via 140-character tweets, watching videos instead of reading long articles, scrolling through photos or gifs and skipping over the captions altogether. There are no shortage of user experience lessons to be learned from this cultural shift. Whether a user is designing, managing or personalizing websites, finding success should be (almost) as easy as scrolling through a photo-filled listicle or typing up a tweet.\nThe thing is, most software engineers and user experience designers are very smart people trying to prove just how smart they are. We want to be the best at everything we do, and we get frustrated when someone creates something better or achieves something faster than we do. This often manifests itself in difficult or cumbersome UX design. As a result, navigating from point A to point B becomes a challenge for the end user.\nWhy coming in first doesn\u2019t mean you won\nAt almost any software company, you\u2019ll find engineers eagerly working toward what\u2019s new and next, and building features to help them stand out from the competition. I see it all the time. The problem is, those engineers aren\u2019t necessarily the ones using the software on a daily basis. When they release dozens of new features each sprint (often every three weeks), they make it impossible for users to keep up with the innovation they\u2019re pushing out. When they look to the side instead of straight ahead, they\u2019re losing sight of their goal: creating user-friendly software that\u2019s accessible to their target audience. And when that target audience doesn\u2019t have software they can easily understand, they\u2019re not going to use it. Suddenly, being better than the competition doesn\u2019t sound so important, does it?\nI see this every day with marketing personalization tools, too. Most of these tools focus on quantity (number of lead-gen emails sent out) over quality. I\u2019d even go so far as to call most of these campaigns spam. They don\u2019t focus on quality, conversion or simplicity and they certainly don\u2019t understand their target audience. In the end, it\u2019s the thought behind the campaign that matters.\nThe future of \u201csmart\u201d web design\nIt\u2019s time we start viewing the best software as user-friendly software, instead of focusing on providing users with an endless supply of features they\u2019ll never need or use. We need to build intuitive products that make necessary business processes as simple as possible and don\u2019t create roadblocks for less tech-savvy users. One area where I see huge potential for this is content and data. I believe that, if we get our engineering priorities in order, we\u2019ll eventually reach a point where anyone\u2014regardless of technical background\u2014can not just personalize a website, but personalize all of their data, regardless of what channel or device it lives on, with a few clicks\nTo get there won\u2019t be easy. We\u2019ll need to capitalize on machine learning to make this a reality. Right now, the systems used for personalization are typically rules-based and pattern-oriented, not based on AI. We\u2019ll need to create an environment where, as I\u2019m creating content, I\u2019m fed recommendations for additional content sources or images to pull the entire piece together. I\u2019d liken this \u201cnext-best offering\u201d experience to the content management version of Google\u2019s \u201cdid you mean?\u201d search feature, but happening in real-time as someone assembles web content\u2014bridging the gap between pictures, words and user goals to create the smoothest content management experience possible.\nThankfully, we now have access to the tools to prioritize data-driven approaches over rules-driven approaches. And thanks to natural language processing, those data-backed approaches are only getting smarter. Machine learning captures the relationships between different words to achieve text classification, sentiment analysis and help complete virtually any project that relies on text similarity. Now imagine content managers using this to access recommendations for additional content, identify duplicate (but not identical) content, ask free-form questions and get accurate answers, or build a better conversational interface. If more software engineers and user experience designers work this into their approach, the end-user will win.\nThere\u2019s no denying that most software companies are under extreme pressure to innovate quickly and get things to market before the competition. But sometimes, that approach isn\u2019t the best one for the user. And when this happens, take a second to consider whether your UI passes the instant gratification test, and aim to strike an ideal balance between game-changing software development and a smooth user experience. It won\u2019t always be easy, but it will certainly be worth it.