Sigma Software Group provides software solutions and IT-consulting to more than 170 customers all over the globe.
Creating an efficient user experience is not an easy task and does not have a “proven recipe”. Standard approaches and practices are not applicable to UX; each and every case is unique and unrepeatable. The nuances in business model, application work, or target audience that may seem insignificant at first glance can play a decisive role in success of UX, and thereby, of your product. The main criteria that really matters in UX is whether it fixes your users’ problem.
Many entrepreneurs think that they may forget about UX once and for all after inviting a UX specialist to a project. In fact, creating a good UX requires the participation of at least three parties. Shall we take a closer look at them?
When thinking about user experience, you should rely on users’ needs. Although this is not very hard to understand, you'll be surprised to hear how often people forget about it.
Rigorous gathering and analysis of user expectations is the number one job to start working on UX. Moreover, remember well that you create UX for them, not for yourself. So, your comfort using the product does not count if it does not match the way your users feel.
A bright example below shows how much you can go wrong if you do not bother to ask your audience what they need.
A story about UX design while searching for airport names
Once we were involved in upgrading a system used by operators of an airport call center to assist passengers in booking and buying airplane tickets. Searching the departure and arrival points was one of the main tools for operators to provide fast and quality service to end-users.
When analyzing the future UX, we suggested applying one of the best practices that are widely used by hundreds of similar resources. That is to tie the search to airport names or names of cities, where airports are located. As regular users, we considered this approach as a proven and handy way to map a route. Imagine how astonished we were when we heard back: “We don’t need it that way”.
After some negotiations, it turned out that searching by cities and airports names take more time than entering airport alphabetic codes, which every operator learns by heart on the very first day of the work.
It happens, of course, that there is no possibility to ask users directly, and you are forced to step on a slippery path of guessing. A business owner and a UX specialist should do their best to walk-in users’ shoes and think through as many user scenarios as can be.
Entrepreneurs can simplify the process of creating user experience and make it more efficient. Here are three things to begin with:
Treat your users with equal care regardless of whether they are your customers or your employees. It is a common delusion that only external users determine the success of a product.
It is true that if an app or a service is inconvenient to use, eventually it will just fade out. When it comes to systems designed to simplify and optimize the inner work of a company, user experience is often not taken seriously. Therefore, instead of skimming the cream off investments made to optimize employees' work, businesses get unhappy and inefficient people forced to use a system that is neither handy nor easy to use.
So, do not neglect your internal users’ opinions. Who but they know best how to streamline your corporate products and systems and make their daily work more productive.
A UX specialist should act as an expert able to see and recognize the nuances that may affect the eventual success of a service or product. Here’s another example worth mentioning, since it demonstrates how a slight difference in the audience portrait may change the user experience.
An application our team has been working on was intended as a tool for parents to motivate their children to learn, go for sports, help with household chores, etc. Using this solution, parents could set goals and reward kids for achieving those goals. Studying user scenarios, we discovered an interesting fact: two-parent and solo-parent families required different sets of features. In the first case, a kid could inform parents about the work done in person, while in the latter they needed a chat to communicate. Different conditions dictate different approaches even when a user portrait remains almost the same.
Many people believe that only a UX specialist with relevant experience in a specific industry can create an effective UX. Surely, a UX expert should dive into the domain and understand the customer’s business. At the same time, the lack of experience in a particular industry should not become a stop factor. Extensive experience in different areas endows a UX specialist with a certain open-mindedness that can bring fresh ideas to the user experience of your application.
What makes a good UX specialist?
An ability to see certain common factors in users’ behavior and understand how to adapt a product to these regularities. Technically, any person, who can do that already is a UX specialist, even if he or she doesn`t have it written down in a resume.
Who is in charge of UX?
A good UX is teamwork of business owners, product users, and a UX specialist, where every part of the process should be able to hear the other party and understand their needs.
What does it take to create an effective UX?
Take attention to every little detail, since it may count for a great deal later. Remember that best practices and solutions that are considered convenient in most cases may not be applicable for the specific needs of your audience. Be able to compromise in order to give your users a handy tool for solving their problems.
Previously published at https://sigma.software/about/media/three-sides-efficient-ux
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