Investing in User Experience (UX) is a huge deal for most companies. In boardrooms across the world, the topic of investing in UX tends to come up as an afterthought in most cases. Such conversations tend to be hasty and unremarkable; consequentially, meager UX budgets are relegated to being sourced with great difficulty. More often than not, it is the perceived ambiguity about its results which is to be blamed.
Here’s why UX warrants your attention
UX is centered on creating delightful and seamless experiences for the user. User experience is paramount in this day and age, when poor UX ends up triggering a deluge of problems. Users today are exposed to a wide range of pleasurable, and even addictive applications which have phenomenally raised the bar of expectations. They’ve come to expect a certain standard of UX which is simplified, smooth-sailing and looks like a million bucks. How companies fulfill these expectations eventually sets the tone and pace of their success.
A study by Forrester Research revealed that companies investing in UX enjoy lower costs of customer acquisition and customer support, along with a surge in customer retention and an increased market share. It further notes that every dollar invested in UX brings 100 dollars in return – a massive jump in RoI.
Delight in the end user is at the very core of good UX. UX designers strive towards crafting an experience that is pleasing and engaging. The idea is to get users excited and looking forward to making use of the product, day in-day out. The consequence of these UX goals is a product that is not only high on performance and efficiency, but also brings sheer delight to users by way of aesthetics and functionality. Its impact on the future of the business would be phenomenal to say the least – delivering increased conversion rates, improved accuracy, data security and ease of access by being Cloud-based, resulting in overall profitability.
Getting started with UX
For starters, conducting an audit of the current user experience of your services or product can reveal some telling insights. Within lie answers and opportunities to really understand your product or service – why does it succeed the way it does, what makes it lack in certain aspects, and the steps which can be undertaken to overcome them. On the whole, it enables you to pace ahead of your competitors via a series of self-improvement exercises that are fool-proof and offer fantastic RoI. Here’s what it will help your company to achieve.
To make the most out of the technology age, businesses are looking for solutions to match seamlessly with their employees’ skills, and help them increase their output with the confidence that the solution they employ would be strong and reliable enough to support their complex structures, process a variety of data, and sync with the organizational goals and needs.
Taking efforts towards creating a good enterprise application leads to increased employee engagement. Upon the integration of UX, its ease of operation ensures that your company runs smoothly — from communicating vital information, to seamlessly conducting essential processes that help workers get stuff done. These are the vitals that impact your company’s finances in a massive manner.
Tapping Unseen Opportunities
According to Norman Nielsen Group, the world’s foremost authority in UX, observing and interviewing just five users usually uncovers about 85 percent of all usability problems. Enterprise UX is on the perpetual lookout for opportunities to improvise and upscale. Every dreary application is waiting to be transformed into a delightful, rewarding, and user-friendly experience, thereby providing solutions to hitherto unknown roadblocks.
Flexible budgeting options – Everyone can avail UX expertise
Regardless of your budget being lavish, mid-range, or shoestring, the adaptability of UX ensures that there is always potential for value addition. A low budget might bring you quick-fixes or overviews of where things stand, whereas a larger budget allows expansive and detailed solutions. No matter where your budget stands, any level of UX integration will yield result in terms of improvements to your product or service.
Broadly speaking, there are three main stages that UX design process is conducted
1) Researching: For the design agency, this first stage involves understanding the scope of what is to be achieved, including the determination of the terms of the project such as timelines and budget. In case of an agile sprint, this will involve prioritizing the user stories to focus on, defining the problem which is to be solved, and setting the parameters of success. This phase begins depicting a clear picture of user needs and goals, and answers questions like: Who are the personas we’re designing for? What are their behaviors, needs and goals?
2) Ideating and Testing: This stage covers the creation of possible solutions that will meet business needs and user needs, zeroing in on the ones which would be viable on all grounds. It begins with high volume of ideas through sketching and experimentation and narrowing down the possible approaches to one or two to develop further and test starting with paper prototypes, developing further on to digital wireframes and clickable prototypes. Quick fixes here would include a guerilla-style testing of paper sketches and running some informal usability tests with colleagues or friends. This is a shortcut to validate the general direction and key aspects of the solution such as flow of information and interaction patterns.
3) Launching and Measuring: This stage sees the project transitioning into launch mode. The design team here is heavily involved during the implementation phase to ensure that the user requirements are being carried through to the final product. It includes providing regular feedback and working in tandem with the development team, or doing QA testing on beta versions of a product to validate if intended processes are in place.
With the increasing global focus on digitalization, UX has notably transcended aesthetics, and plays a vital role across product development phases. Design thinking has now become an integral part of product development for industry giants like Airbnb, Nike, Apple, and several others.
In the absence of UX research, a product or service is created based on the assumptions of user needs. Erroneously-defined requirements is a crucial factor contributing to the eventual failure/ under-productivity of a product or service. Not only does it result in the lowering of profits, the additional funds required for correctional measures further dents company funds.
“You can use an eraser on the drafting table or a sledge hammer on the construction site.”
– Frank Lloyd Wright
It is imperative that investment in UX becomes an integral part of each development project. The onus rests upon the leadership to encourage each department to integrate user experience. The resultant opportunities for features, content and functionality revealed through UX research ends up in significant increases in product performance as well as an astronomical RoI for the company.