Nowadays, businesses that have consistently stood out are the ones that have ensured pleasant user experiences (UX). UX, in a broad sense, refers to the use of certain methods and techniques that are applied through various stages of product development to yield a unified, predictable, and desirable reaction from the consumer. A spot-on UX takes the product far beyond giving consumers what they require or a checklist of standard features. This last decade has seen monumental transformations in businesses, with over a billion users globally accessing the web, growth in the number and variety of mobile devices, a vast landscape of browsers and different speeds of internet connections.
In order to remain significant UX designs determine the retention of potential customers as well as attracting new ones.
The selling power of good design is universally appealing to audiences across industries. Innovation in technology is no longer the sole determining factor to establish oneself in the market, as providing a better ‘experience’ trumps. Be it how the product looks and feels in your hand, or the details of the service a customer receives, a good UX design can transform how customers ‘feel’ about the product. A truly successful design can even evoke a sense of empowerment among users by making them feel they can do something that was previously impossible. With intuitive touchscreens and intelligent smartphones at everyone’s disposal, people expect the technology behind it to be obvious and involve the least actions from a user.
The interface of the iOS is one of the first examples that comes to mind when we consider award winning user interfaces. Another example of excellent UI design s the Nest thermostat, a simple tool which controls the temperature inside a house by operating the dial.
Keeping in mind how integral UX is to successful product design, the trend across the industry, in the near future, will be around transposing it as a strategic process and as an integral part of business strategy rather than a design and development process. We will also see a surge in collaboration between business strategists and designers in coming up with solutions that successfully engage with the users.
In addition to this, data will become more centralised as we move to the cloud while individual experiences will get more distributed and diverse for each customer. Simplification will be key to the success of this transition and in order to get closer to a first-class UX, a company must merge all of its multi-disciplinary offerings. Designers and developers should function as one team carrying out extensive user research, analysis and evaluating all this information to transform it into a winning design and in turn a winning product.
As consumerisation of IT becomes the norm moving forward, design and usability have also become key parameters that define a practical business solution. Socialixation of a product is determined by how the experience drives the user and in turn drives the adoption of the product.
By Dilipkumar Khandelwal
The writer is managing director, SAP Labs India