Recently, in a customer workshop, I was listening to business users talking about the issues they were facing with their current system. This was not an academic exercise, as so many often can be, but rather a very interactive session with a highly engaged and enabled customer. My team had helped this customer with user research, design, and development for the application. Since the application had been in production for a few years, there was a ton of data about how people were really using it and how their usage could be expanded. The customer wanted to leverage that knowledge to make incremental design changes. While that sounds exactly like how things should work, anyone in the profession of designing and building user experiences knows that this was actually a rare opportunity—especially in the world of enterprise software.
Even though they had identified a lot of tactical fixes to design and implement, one of the main strategic initiatives they brought up derived from the fact that users did not really know the most expeditious route to follow in completing their tasks. They also alluded to the concepts of speed and accuracy throughout the presentation of the application. Read More
These days, it seems that everyone is all about design thinking—scrambling to jump on this runaway train and ride it for what it’s worth before the next big thing hits. There are design-thinking classes and certifications from premier management and technology consulting firms. However, UX professionals who focus on delivering amazing user experiences to people have always been design thinkers—for very good reason. After all, everything we do and experience in life is designed. From the applications we use, to the way we purchase a cup of coffee, design is everywhere. These things don’t just happen. Product teams don’t just write and execute requirements. Business analysts don’t just dream up these experiences. We design them by following design principles and business strategies. So, by employing the same design strategies to real business problems, we are bound to be able to come up with better solutions.
Digital transformation is another popular term that describes the journey companies are undertaking today as they look to integrate digital technologies into every aspect of their business. These transformations consider people, process, organizational culture, the how, what, and why around the ways customers engage with their business. While every major company is engaging in digital transformation, their progress and maturity in this endeavor varies greatly. Throughout what are often multiyear transformation programs, they’re grappling with legacy processes, technology, and culture. As a result, many are still struggling to deliver tangible business outcomes. In fact, it is hard to find any company that will stand up and say, “Yes! We have reached the end of our digital-transformation journey, and we succeeded!” Why is that? Read More
At networking and business events, I often get asked about where I think user experience is going. A common theme that has emerged during these conversations is the sense that some of the latest trends in software—such as robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence—may do away with the need for UX design. While I understand the overarching fear of this perceived threat to UX designers’ livelihood, I find this very human fear ironic given what the worry is about. People often fear what they don’t quite understand and, certainly, the general hoopla about robots taking over human’s jobs breeds much fear and misunderstanding.
However, our guiding principle should always be: When we, as humans, use a product, we should not have to adapt to the technology. Instead, technology should adapt to us. A product that does this successfully is well designed. To create such well-crafted experiences, companies will need UX designers more than ever. Good design does not just happen. In actuality, the introduction of a new technology has no bearing on the validity and continued value of a mature design process. Read More