Over the last few years, it has been great to see the world of website design and development wake up to the value of a process that is centred around the people that will use the things we make.
The value of UX
The positive impact of this approach, in terms of value to a business, is well evidenced not just in the digital space.
For example, studies have shown consumers are willing to pay more for a service if the company offers a great customer experience.
The negative impact of a bad experience has also been demonstrated to drive people away from brands. Often this is described in terms of customer service even in a digital space.
Almost 60% of consumers were unlikely or very unlikely to return to a business they had experienced poor customer service from, even if a trusted friend said the service had improved.
Jarod Spool describes a method for showing the value of UX to your organisation in terms of four steps:
- Identify the frustrations caused by poor experiences
- Identify the cost to the organisation of those frustrations
- Find the person in charge of reducing those costs
- Ask the new UX champion to sponsor a Lean UX project (to make changes in an efficient and measurable way)
User centered design
To understand how a UX project should be conducted it helps to consider User Centered Design (UCD), one of the key tenets behind most UX work.
The core pillars of UCD are:
- A focus on the goals of users and outcomes
- Decisions start and end with users, what they want and need
- Testing with users should be part of each stage of the project to keep it rooted in the above
- The process should include iterative stages which allow for ongoing improvement and evolution of the product (website or application)
This also helps balance any organisational objectives that may not be grounded in an understanding of real users or customers. It also helps focus an organisation on making changes that will have an impact by ensuring they are solving the problems of real people.
These pillars also sit well with the principles of Lean UX, another helpful methodology for lightweight, hypothesis-lead user testing, aimed at validating assumptions, designs and prototypes quickly. Without this component, it is often hard to deliver user testing if you work in an Agile way because of the short time scales involved.
The foundations of Lean UX is an iterative cycle:
As a digital agency, these are fundamental cornerstones for a process that we run for many clients, often to tight deadlines (compared to a product team or large software house).
In an agency / client relationship there are further benefits both in terms of aligning organisations around the needs of users and the strategic goals of the organisation. Such a process can also help mitigate some of the risk that is otherwise inevitable, where the value or effectiveness of solutions can’t be proven until very late in a project.
A user centered approach can also help ensure more open and healthy longer term relationships between the client and agency, where both parties work toward the development of a more sustainable web platform, that can be improved iteratively and effectively over time.
If you’re interested in talking more about how our process might benefit your project or organisation, we'd love to share our knowledge and experience with you.
Sources & further reading:
PwC future of custom experience Survey 2017/18: https://pwc.to/2Lkz7GC
Kayako What 1000 Consumers Say About Bad Customer Service 8/12/2016: https://www.kayako.com/blog/bad-customer-service/
A Proven Method For Showing The Value Of Good UX by Jarod Spool: https://articles.uie.com/a-proven-method-for-showing-the-value-of-good-ux/
Lean UX: how to get started, Justinmind: https://uxplanet.org/lean-ux-how-to-get-started-bb3771697e2