UX is creeping into our vernacular and workspace. But what is this interloper? Is it just an Americanism or the latest fad?
Listen up. User experience design is the third spoke of the solution building equation- Successful solution = viability, feasibility, desirability. And it’s not just essential in the design phase, but through the whole life cycle of your solution, whether it be a digital or physical product, a service or a system. And being as customer experience is set to overtake price and product as the top brand differentiator, we suggest you read on. Here’s why-
The users of your solution are not interested in it in and of itself. So, I get you love your solution, but, get over that. Your users are interested because it solves a problem they are having, it achieves (or not), their goal. If you don’t know what your intended users’ goals are, the context in which they are looking to your solution, and the behaviours they display when engaging with it, you have a large chance of providing something completely irrelevant to them. Or not evolving it with their changing needs. (Ever suffered a ‘transformation’ change initiative to improve efficiency that amounted to a lot of cost and new tools you didn’t need?)
Business objectives are usually well understood, boiling down to make more with less or provide more with less. There is usually far less clarity on what the key motivations and showstoppers are for the intended users that are the enablers, after all, of said more-for-less business equation. So, to maximise your return on investment you need a lens to focus in on the most impactful areas for spending. By researching your intended user, their goals, behaviours, context of use and pain points with existing solutions, you can ensure you are actually solving the problem that they have sought out your solution to solve. Happy and returning users and customers achieved. Boom.
By researching your intended user, their goals, behaviours, context of use and pain points with existing solutions, you can ensure you are actually solving the problem
Why should you believe me? You know your business, right? You have an amazing product. You are a market leader. You have a track record of success… well… Blackberry. In 2013 they crashed out of the market after leading the way in the smart phone industry for years. The X10 had cutting edge functional design, beautiful aesthetic design but they totally overlooked user experience design-to their cost. The swipe and gesture navigation befuddled users. Blackberry failed to user test its navigation system before production. Even a limited user test in the design cycle would have thrown up the not insignificant issue that users couldn’t figure out how to use it. Epic fail. Ouch.
Even a limited user test in the design cycle would have thrown up the not insignificant issue that users couldn’t figure out how to use it.
The man of the software development moment- Agile- is alas rather misunderstood. It has become a hall pass for not doing your research before you leap in. Although Agile is usually of a digital persuasion, the short-sighted ramifications of its afore mentioned misuse are recognisable across the board. We see time and again businesses setting requirements for a project straight out of the heads of business leads. The solution has been defined before the start gun. Before researching the users’ goals. Before defining the actual problem to be solved. Before aligning this with business objectives, budgets and strategies. And then, gasp, the solution doesn’t deliver the expected benefits.
Agile- is alas rather misunderstood. It has become a hall pass for not doing your research before you leap in.
Doing User Experience Design is like doing the hoovering. No one notices you’ve done it unless you haven’t. Unlike it’s glamourous sibling Aesthetics or its dweeby friend Functionality, user design is the wall blender that is neglected at your peril. Everyone comes to use a solution with some good-will towards it, that is quickly eroded when it fails to act in the way they expect or causes them frustration or confusion.
Doing User Experience Design is like doing the hoovering. No one notices you’ve done it unless you haven’t.
In short, make sure your solution life cycle incorporates User Experience Design, from the get-go, because delivering the wrong outcome to time, cost and performance is a rather hollow victory.