In the past, developers presented their products to the user in the “my way or the highway” model. Users got the application and that was it. No feedback, no updates, no nothing. Technical aspects of the industry, as well as legacy infrastructure, prevented applications to be continuously supported. Today everything has changed. User experience (UX) is better because tech allows it. More importantly, because attitude has changed. UX is a vital process of the software development process. How can you leverage it in your product?
Market trends change. That’s why it’s important to keep tabs on what’s going on and adjust the product accordingly.
Why is user experience important?
Because users generate revenue. The best way you can assure yourself decent earnings is to engage with your user base early on. The discovery phase is a great example of how can you do that.
The discovery phase provides a time for all stakeholders of the project to come together and create a shared understanding of the project goals. This collaborative vision helps ensure that in each step of the project, the end goal remains the same: provide business value. In this process, there are multiple stakeholders involved:
- Project Manager
- Project Owner
- Business Analyst
- Solution Architect
- QA Specialists
- UX Designer
- End users
Each of them can and should impact the shape of the app, but it’s the users that everyone should focus on the most. Early spotted feedback will generate deep insight into how the app works and how it’s perceived but customers. If they can’t figure out what’s what or find a necessary feature, that’s on you. The more you invest in understanding the challenges and needs of end users, the less it will cost to adjust the app later on. Often when discovery is ignored, users are not consulted until too late in development; your digital product may have already missed the mark from their perspective. Involving users early will confirm the goals of the project and the potential value this software will deliver.
What’s the impact of UX on ROI?
Believe it or not but UX has a direct impact on return on investment (ROI). Interestingly enough, there’s a 2016 report by Forrester called “The Six Steps for Justifying Better UX”. The company tried to justify and evaluate the power of 1 dollar spent on UX design. The finding: every single dollar invested in better user experience, generates 100 dollars.
According to the report, companies that invest in UX design services experience a lower cost of user acquisition, increased customer retention, increased market share, and lower user support costs.
What do users want? It spawns directly from the UX definition itself. They expect the application to be:
- valuable, meaning provide challenge-solving features
- accessible, meaning easy access to these features; no navigation issues or long tap-throughs to reach desired functionalities
- desirable, meaning good UX/UI design
- credible, meaning spot-on security and performance
The application should provide elements like easy navigation, a flawless checkout process, and be intuitive. In return, it will increase sales and revenue.
The difference between UX and UI design
UI design services differ from those focused on UX. They complement each other and even interpenetrate, to provide the best possible outcome.
UX is focused on:
- user research
- user stories
- user journey
while UI does the work in the field of:
- graphic design
- visual design
The goal of a good user experience design is to understand users: their pain points, challenges, and needs. It’s to generate the solution and deliver it to the client base. People don’t want to buy the app just for the sake of it. They need a slick-looking but most importantly useful piece of software. The trick is, one can’t usually exist without the other.
How does the information structure in the app support conversion?
The key elements of a good UX strategy can be broken down into three major fields. Each of them consists of several critical elements.
Human factors: stakeholders, designers, developers, and engineers.
Data factors: existing data, data processing software, user interviews, discovery phase reports, customer feedback
Projected outcome factors: app design criteria, features, performance and functionality, and success metrics.
All these elements should be driving factors behind the information architecture (IA) for the app. The IA makes the content easy to understand and intuitive while organizing it so that users can find the desired element in a matter of seconds. By shortening the time between the need and delivery, we increase the chances for conversion.
The driving factors of UI and UX design
You can’t have a performing product without the discovery phase. You can’t have a discovery phase without a proper understanding of why the product is being made in the first place.
That’s why it’s important to start with competitive analysis. Market research will tell you how the issue is addressed by competition and how users react to this type of solution. You can analyze competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
The next important element is personas. You can understand the client base, but can you understand a single user? By simplifying the process and bringing it to a single atom, you can address issues with precision and care. The user base is statistics. A single user is a real-life scenario. Build the app to address real issues, not to satisfy the anonymous statistics.
Another important thing is a wireframe. It’s the basic skeleton of a digital experience, like an app or a website. Wireframing means creating simple layouts including lines and shapes with some text. Why do UX designers create wireframes? They:
- establish the basic structure of a webpage of an app’s screen. Way before images or even colors is added to the mix.
- allow highlighting the intended functions of the product
- are transformed into interactive prototypes for testing of app’s elements and overall product functionality
- are easy and quick – developers and designers can effortlessly make them prove their point or exclude unwanted design solution
The more you see the forest, the less you see the trees
Software development is a matter of perspective. The more you focus on the global image, the less you see the struggle of the individual user. UX design keeps the team honest and brings value to the table. The value that can be translated into real business solutions.
User research answers some vital questions:
- is there anyone on the market who would want our solution
- should we build the app
- how can we build it
The most important aspect of research is linked to psychology. According to the very good quote: human character is revealed when the person is alone and no one is watching. The same goes for users. You can perform any test you like and ask representative end users all kinds of questions but the most valuable feedback comes from observation. This is how Electrolux likes to test its prototypes. They simply hand them over and record users figuring them out. This is how your app should be tested as well.
Research and development, UX/UI, end-to-end application development. All of those are really important but the key ingredient is taste. The elusive factor X is provided by developers and feedback is given by the users. At Code & Pepper, we believe in “power to the people”. Hence the name. Pepper is a hidden, and often missing ingredient behind a successful product. We can help you make it.