Giving your customers mobile access to your software systems is one way to cater to their wishes. But there are more factors that you need to consider. The most important one is a great user experience. Don’t confuse a great UX with fancy designs and a game-like look and feel. No, a great UX means a good intuitive flow through the data as your customers would use it. It needs to be so straightforward and logical so that it is self-explanatory and very appealing to use. Having a UX designer on the team makes the difference between a good and great app.
“User experience (UX) refers to a person’s emotions and attitudes about using a particular product, system or service. It includes the practical, experiential, affective, meaningful and valuable aspects of human–computer interaction and product ownership. Additionally, it includes a person’s perceptions of system aspects such as utility, ease of use and efficiency. User experience may be considered subjective in nature to the degree that it is about individual perception and thought with respect to the system. User experience is dynamic as it is constantly modified over time due to changing usage circumstances and changes to individual systems as well as the wider usage context in which they can be found.” Wikipedia
First and foremost, a good experience is based on your users’ preferred way to consume or interact with your information. This is where a UX designer starts, by identifying the personality, needs, and wishes of the end-users. A good understanding of the end-user will result in an app that is favored by the clients and thus gives your company a competitive edge. This means research and interviews with the product owner. And preferably interviews with end-users. You may think the latter is too much detail, but it gives you two added benefits. First of all, a further optimization of the user experience by gaining access to the real user, which gives your app added value in the market. Plus, your customers will appreciate that you are customer-centric by consulting them and incorporating their needs and wishes. It validates that you listen to them.
Once the UX designer has a clear view of your user, their needs, their preferences, she (as the UX designer I recently talked to about the ins and outs she encounters) create a user journey. User journeys describe at a high level of detail exactly what steps different users take to complete a particular task within a system, application or website. What should the journey contain?
The user journey with the integrated user flow for each different ecosystem. These are then the basis for the architecture, wireframes and further specifications. And then comes the UI design.
The difference between UX and UI designers
“Although both UX and UI designers design interactions, you can think of UX designers as the architects of macro-interactions while UI designers, as the makers of micro-interactions, attend to the details.”
UI design is the UX design’s compliment, the look and feel, the presentation and interactivity of a product. The UI design is also based on the research that has been done into the user persona. If males predominantly use your app, it will need a different look and feel than when your user base is female. The age of your user will also translate into different desires, as well as when the app will be used. “When we created an app for a client whose users were male, not very tech savvy, and they had to use the app in darker environments, we created an industrial looking app with a dark background and bright fonts. This made it not only for the audience but also easier to use in dimly lit situations,” says Dana Man, UX designer at Yonder. “Another example is a mobile app that we were to develop for a client which would contain a lot of information. The desktop version could carry that amount of information, but for mobile, this does not work. So after researching the personas, needs, etc., we came up with only a few screens for the optimal mobile experience.”
We see great value in UX designers. It is a shame to spend money on creating new products, from mobile apps to platforms, to software systems, without doing your due diligence into the user personas and providing the best journey and experience. Our customers invest so much into their software products to increase their financial performance (today or in the future): whether you want to grow in your market or new markets, expand your offering and increase your share of wallet, or retain or expand your customer base. Placing your customer center stage, incorporating their behavior and needs into your app, would result in an optimal experience and thus increase the market value of the product.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.