When considering project delivery, particularly for something as complex as a transactional application the design carries a great burden. It has to be engaging with low friction for the customer, yet work seamlessly for the technical solution that will support it. Continue reading to learn how to be UX ready and successful.
Project ready UX
When designing for complex transactional applications, a pure focus on the UX is at the peril of creating dissatisfied customers, months of rework and budget overruns. The goal of design should be to achieve a cohesive package of requirements, user experiences and architecture that allows development to begin.
There are two critical elements required to deliver well focused designs, ready for development:
- Cohesiveness, E.g. not trying to deliver something that pulls in multiple directions; if the architecture is MVP led, then the designs need to be also
- Fidelity or completeness, e.g. not missing key customer journeys is fundamental to a well understood design.
Top down, bottom up
A good design process addresses all stakeholders, not just marketing or the CTO. Applying a top down bottom up approach addresses marketing (with visuals), business (with interactions), and technology (with solution architecture). The key thing is alignment within and across teams to avoid arriving at the end state without harmonising the artefacts. By mapping the designs to requirements and the underpinning technology at key points of customer journeys, this harmony can be achieved. With multidisciplinary teams working together with regular touchpoints the pitfalls, read expensive rework, can be avoided.
The key thing is alignment within and across teams to avoid arriving at the end state without harmonising the artefacts. By mapping the designs to requirements and the underpinning technology at key points of customer journeys, this harmony can be achieved.
Understand the domain
Sometimes looking outside the business gives a clearer perspective than just asking for requirements. Research the business domain before even talking to the client to get a fresh view, especially from an end customer perspective as well as internal client departments. The client usually has deep expertise in their business but often lack the end customer perspective. “They can’t see the wood from amongst the trees.” A fresh perspective spawns questions which the business would never have considered before.
Furthermore, understanding what is being solved by design is important too. Recently the term UX is a buzzword that has been greatly misused in the media. One common issue faced is that many creatives (e.g. professional photoshoppers) try to move into that field due to its attractiveness. The challenge here is that designing purely visually misses the contextual elements of the user journey and bypasses any underlying technical constraints.
Design for the job, not just in the job
It shouldn’t be difficult to get designs ready for development, one always talks about the right tools for the job, which really means applying efficient processes and sometimes tools. Given the two previous points a process should support collaboration end to end. Using tools that assist communication, such as making changes live during customer discussion can speed up delivery and reduce rework cycles.
The right combination of people, process and tools really helps businesses achieve objectives faster with less cost. Big design phases at the beginning of projects really need to get smart in how they deliver to stay on time on budget, a common process for business as usual will see the same benefits. Working with all stakeholders in mind helps match a strong UX with the business requirements and technology constraints. Finally this simply means following practical guidelines that have already been applied in other aspects of delivery, like MVP, Targets, Roadmaps, etc.
An experienced digital Solution and Enterprise Architect, he works with our clients to define their strategic goals taking them forward into software solutions, across a broad spectrum of industries, such as, retail, Telco, & B2B.