Have you noticed a common theme in the last several Servoy blogs (“It All Begins With a Delightful Customer Experience” and “Driving the App Dev Vehicle Top-Down”)? They both focus on a single topic: the customer experience. This strategy of focusing more on helping the customer, not selling the product or features, has been around since the beginning of the digital era. But building a beautiful user experience into a business application—easier said than done!
How to Meet Today’s User Expectations
For ISVs and developers who are building enterprise applications or modernizing complex business apps, the end product should have a focus of providing a smooth, seamless, productive, and intuitive customer (or user) experience. Today’s consumers of applications are sophisticated, with high expectations about the look and feel and the experience. The baseline for this experience continues to evolve, making for some tough competition. But what exactly do we mean when we talk about user experience. Do we mean an attractive UI, easy navigation…or optimizing productivity—or all three?
Defining and Designing Your UX Strategy
The secret to creating a great UX all begins with a well-articulated UX strategy. You might assume that a product manager (PM) could create and execute a UX strategy because their objectives are similar, with one big difference—UX strategy has a laser-like focus on the user experience and productivity compared with the PM’s focus on the product’s business value or profitability. The roles of UX specialist and PM are also alike in that both are concerned about whether the product is technically feasible, but the UX strategy takes a granular look at how a user responds to and interacts with an application. This includes an attractive user interface and intuitive navigation with the end goal of optimizing user productivity.
User experience strategists rely on the principles of UX design to help understand, describe and document the ideal experience. UX strategists communicate the target experience to the wider organization through concept models, diagrams and other abstractions. They oversee the final execution of that vision, to ensure the final output meets the stated goals. To some extent, all good designers do this. However, UX strategists focus only on this aspect, disregarding areas such as the information architecture. To sum it up, UX is a specialized field of study that requires education to become certified so don’t make the mistake and think that your product strategist (or even a CTO) can do what a UX specialist does.
Roadmap for a Successful UX strategy
The following are three key recommendations that will help you succeed in bringing your revamped or new business application to market better and faster. Your goal should be to invest in understanding how your users can benefit optimally from your application, whether it’s brand new or a modernized version.
To understand your users:
- Contract a UX specialist—Work with a UX specialist before you begin the application development process. This will be an upfront investment but one that pays high dividends by ensuring your application lives up to its potential. As mentioned earlier, this professional is specially trained in the principles of UX, a specific discipline that goes beyond graphic design and marketing.
- Do a UX study—The specialist will sit next to your users and observe them to understand the tasks they need to perform and the most productive pattern to help accomplish them.
- Create the ideal path forward—The UX specialist will provide feedback with clear direction on how to create the optimal user experience.
Stay tuned for more
In the next post in this series, we’ll talk more about UX design and why “failing fast” and using a minimal viable product (MVP) approach works best for rapid application development of business applications.
ROI of User Experience March 2017, Tech Republic