Bad design is easy to see. It’s obvious at the ATM, in the checkout line, and with many other technologies we encounter every day. But, good design often goes unnoticed. THAT’s THE POINT. Good design assimilates so well into your way of thinking about things that your interaction occurs intuitively, fluidly, and without disruptions – as if you don’t have to think about it. Good design helps you do whatever you’re doing easily effectively, and efficiently while making you feel good about yourself.
Why Does UX Matter?
Most importantly, our customers tell us that UX matters. They demand that we deliver effective, efficient tools that people want to use. If we do that, then UX can become a significant competitive differentiator for us.
UX has always mattered, but over the past few years it became a key to product success. Technology changed dramatically for our customers and users, but consumer products moved much more quickly than enterprise software and set new standards for how people interact and work with technology. Consumer experiences now set the bar for what people expect to see in their work lives.
As consumers, we no longer draw a line between our personal and work lives. Look at your own workspace. Everyone has a smart phone sitting next to a workstation or laptop or tablet. We integrate our work and personal lives such that our technologies serve both purposes. Clearly, we need to deliver better experiences than our enterprise competitors. But we also need to think of the consumer world as both a source of inspiration and a competitor.
How Do We Do It?
So what’s the secret? It comes in two parts. First, good experience doesn’t necessarily come from adding features and functionality. Look at how many companies deliver awkward and byzantine experiences. How many of those companies promoted social media and mobility? Probably most. Adding features, even popular ones, doesn’t improve the experience for users. In fact, it often makes awkward experiences worse. Good experiences follow a flow and logic consistent with the way our users naturally think. The trick is to THINK LIKE OUR USERS.
A USER-CENTRIC strategy emerges from a deep understanding of our users, how they think about their work, and the difficulties they experience in that work. Armed with that understanding we leverage technology to design solutions eliminating the barriers and reducing the speed bumps that make work difficult. Our aim is to make users’ lives easier, more efficient…and better! It all starts with an investment in understanding how people use our products in their work environments. The deeper that understanding, the more innovative our solutions will be.
The second part of the secret is UX AS A TEAM SPORT! Success doesn’t come from assigning a UX designer to a project. It comes from transforming the business to focus on its users: how we conceive, design, build, market, and support our products. Look at other companies who clearly don’t do UX well. Within enterprise software, stalwart companies have huge UX teams (>200 people) while their products accrue extremely low usability and customer satisfaction scores. They are universally disliked. Why?
To deliver great experiences we must all see our products through the eyes of our users and STAY FOCUSED on their needs from concept through delivery and support. We must build our products to SOLVE USER PROBLEMS, not technology problems. We leverage technology to solve user problems. Changing our focus to users is a difficult transition. It takes more than creating a set of personas. We must have the personas, but also have the skills, perspective, process and tools to hold that focus in everything we do.
A user-centric approach is about more than building a UX team – true transformation occurs when we have a User-Focused company. As the core UX team, our goal is to provide expertise and GUIDE BMC through that transition. We’ve made significant progress, but are still early in our journey. We are excited to share more about our focus on user-centric design. See what you think, and please get in touch to tell us with what you think makes for a great user experience.
These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.