Change leaders who are tasked with the monumental job of leading digital transformation often find themselves talking to software developers. One phrase that inevitably comes up is “User Experience” (UX).
It’s key that leaders understand what this term means, especially if they’re updating or replacing old legacy software systems. It also helps to understand the impact that UX has (or should have) on software development in the 21st century.
To help out with that, here’s a quick guide for leaders who are about to talk to developers about a custom software product. Keep these principles in mind and you should have a good knowledge bank ready for when you meet with the development team.
User Experience is Transforming Businesses
You may have already noticed that a lot of people, even non-developers, are talking about “User Experience” these days. Writers for major media outlets like Time Magazine and Forbes, for example, are extolling about it.
Consider the user experience-enhancing modifications made by Lyft. Riders (users) weren’t easily finding their rides amidst a sea of cars at airports or on city streets. They complained and, after hearing those “pain points”, Lyft ditched their trademark front license plate mustache. Instead, they implemented a lit-up sign on the dashboard, making the task of finding your driver almost effortless.
It a prime example of UX in action. Lyft leaders followed these general steps:
- Listen to customer feedback
- Brainstorm a creative solution
- Implement and enjoy the satisfaction that users are pleased
- Wait for positive results to start flooding in
In the case of Lyft, those “positive results” were happier users who shared their delight on social media and in person with friends. That led to increased ridership and, we can assume, increased profits.
Your Employees Need Good UX, Too
What Lyft leaders did pretty much describes the spirit of UX. If you require a definition, you could say:
It’s a customer-centric approach to doing business, making it easy and pleasurable to interact with your brand.
“Users” can be defined as customers, as in the Lyft example above. But they can also be your employees. And if you’re working with a software developer to create new internal applications, UX has a very relevant role here, too.
How? One word: productivity. Software that’s designed with your staff’s pain points and goals in mind will help them do their jobs better.
You Should Demand Good UX from Your Developer
UX is transforming businesses like Lyft. As a result, it’s also changing the way big companies think about the software that drives their business. For both the customer-facing software and the internal software, leaders are learning to demand good UX.
Naturally, the UX approach is changing the way developers create custom software for clients. In the past five years alone, there has been a major shift in the development process. Luckily for the end users, and as their forward-thinking clients are demanding, it’s a shift towards the user and their needs.
So you need to demand good UX, too.
Run From a Developer Who Doesn’t Talk About UX
So now you know that UX is fast becoming a major force in the development world. More importantly, you understand why. It should be abundantly clear that any software development team that doesn’t bring user experience into the picture is failing to keep up with the 21st-century. They don’t understand how businesses work so there’s a good chance they won’t design software that helps businesses reach their goals.
So know this: if you haven’t jumped aboard the UX train and begun demanding UX Best Practices be woven into your custom software products, you could end up paying for a product that doesn’t help your business.
It really hasn’t been that long since software developers were churning out apps without so much as a nod to the User Experience (UX). Everyone can recall a time when visiting a website, using a smartphone app, or performing tasks at work, they felt completely frustrated and it was because of bad UX.
Maybe it was the convoluted and overly complex navigation bar. Or maybe the features weren’t relevant to the task at hand. These kinds of UX mistakes used to happen all the time… and still do. You still see examples of this UX mistakes all over the internet and, if you work with legacy software, in the internal apps that your employees use. This is why you need to be on your guard… there are still plenty of bad development companies out there, churning out software that doesn’t take the user’s needs into mind.
Knowing about UX (and why it’s important) will help you speak to your software developer. Ultimately, that should result in a better outcome for the software you’re commissioning from them. We hope this has helped- good luck on your journey to digital transformation!
Catherine Tims is the editor at NoStop.
After receiving her Master’s degree in English Language and Linguistics at the
University of Arizona, she taught writing to graduate students at the
University of Illinois/Champaign-Urbana. She has her own writing business, Ivy
League Content, and freelances full time for business clients who need