Today’s users prefer easy-to-use applications and software products and will quickly shun something difficult to use. As a result, UX design has become essential for the success of many products, meaning that companies without a strong UX strategy will quickly fall behind.
Organizations often prioritize functionality over usability, resulting in applications that are confusing, difficult to interact with, or that fail to meet users’ needs and expectations. This situation usually leads to a considerable amount of wasted time and money. Good UX can actually reduce all of those risks when applied correctly, and your software development outsourcing partner might be prefect to help you achieve quality UX.
There’s a common misconception that UX is only about icons, colors, button placement, and superficial elements of a product, when in fact it’s far deeper than that. UX design is about understanding user requirements and creating software that prioritizes usefulness and usability, which ultimately lead to benefits for the business.
Advantages of User-centric Design
Applications that are designed with the user in mind can result in plenty of benefits for your business.
Customers are more likely to buy a product or service that meets their needs, so good UX can help increase sales. A well-designed, user-friendly app can quickly boost competitiveness, as customers are more likely to choose the product that meets their needs most effectively.
Great user experience can also save your business time and money. By testing prototypes with end-users instead of full-blown products, it becomes far more cost-effective to make changes mid-development.
A software development team that can focus on UX will ensure better product performance, higher productivity, optimized production, reduced time and costs involved in custom software development, and an increase in customer loyalty, so it’s worthwhile to bring UX into the fold as early as possible.
Here are some of the ways that organizations and their UX teams can gain these benefits and improve their approach to user experience.
Considering User Needs from Day One
One of the biggest mistakes that companies make in software development is not considering user experience (UX) from the beginning of the project. For a long time, it’s been common for organizations to start a project and then involve UX in the middle of development, which is often too little too late.
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Without considering user needs from the start of development, teams can discover huge issues with the user interface weeks into a project’s lifecycle, resulting in sunk costs and wasted time.
When software development teams build software with the UX in mind, they reduce the chances of rework and redesign. Here at Perficient Latin America, we start with the UX process during Sprint Zero in order to bring developers into the fold and begin working with them on the software’s UX requirements.
To help plan what UX approach to take, think about the challenges that will come up with the product. Break down the kinds of users you expect to have, how to show them the data or information they will need, keeping it as simple as possible throughout.
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Understanding the Thought Process Mid-Development
Not every development team has the luxury of starting fresh with a new project, so how can companies start to prioritize UX on an existing product? It’s not easy to make lots of UX choices mid-project and quickly becomes very expensive. UX teams need to be able to recognize what they can improve without impacting the project too much.
The first step is understanding. It’s a mistake to go into a project that is already running and start to change things without knowledge of the whole process. It’s vital to understand how the product got to its current state and why certain choices were made in its development, only then can UX teams deliver the most value to existing projects.
Convincing developers to focus on UX can be difficult as they have a tendency to think like developers and not like users, especially when they built the original versions of the product. The best approach that UX teams should take to get around this is to spend a lot of time talking with them and asking for their feedback. Include them in the thought process and learn more about their work to develop a better understanding of what might be possible and what is more difficult to implement.
Sharing Knowledge and Educating on the Value of UX
The responsibility falls on UX teams to teach stakeholders about the far-reaching benefits of great user experience and the importance of users in the software development process. UX teams should be capable of communicating with project managers, product owners, scrum masters, developers, and even executives to hammer home the importance of UX.
When joining a new project, Perficient Latin America’s UX team connects with the stakeholders, helps to educate them on what we can accomplish with the UX process. Over time, it’s been beneficial for us and our partners to share results, showing how the product looked and operated before and after the UX process. We use presentations, interactions, animations, and small prototypes to achieve this, as well as measuring various testing metrics during the user testing phase to highlight the positive and negative aspects of the product’s user experience.
In terms of adding real value to the company, business objectives take precedence in every software development project. With UX, the business objective should always be giving the user the best experience with the product. If users are happy, the value of that product grows faster and it has greater positive impacts on the business.
Whatever the software product, the end user’s satisfaction can make or break the product’s success. If the user cannot accomplish what they need to easily, intuitively, and quickly, the product’s reputation suffers a massive blow.
About the Author:
David Franco is a publicist with more than 20 years of experience in graphic design, design web, interface design and user experience. Franco has conceptualized, created, designed and developed interfaces for websites, mobile and desktop applications, using agile methodologies, user-centered design and the best practices to create modern and avant-garde products. He has also led design teams and UI developers in national and international projects and worked with large development teams on large projects.
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