Today’s digital products and services offer you great opportunities to provide compelling user experiences. To fully maximise these opportunities however, care must be taken in the organisational methods and user involvement in the development process.
Setting up Design Teams
The design of successful products and services in the digital age requires a multidisciplinary team with expertise in the fields of interaction, visual design and industrial design as well as industry specific experience. Companies which are moving towards their digital future can help strengthen their product teams and implement strategies focused on customers, by developing internal, dedicated user-focused research (UXR) teams.
There is a range of methodologies and tools that a UXR team can deploy to better understand business users: contextual queries; one-to-one in-depth interviews; high level task analysis; design sprints, and usability tests all provide important information. Galer, Harker and Ziegler (2016) explore these different approaches, encouraging product managers to move from business-centric thinking: about business objectives, release dates and production, to user-centric thinking: about problem validation, hypothesis creation and results.
User-centric design (UCD) is an iterative design process focused on users and their needs at every stage. UCD requires users to be involved in various research and design techniques throughout the process and aims to understand and contextualise the user at all stages. Careful selection of user representatives can represent the diversity of users in user testing. The aim is to make systems usable by addressing users, their range of needs and requirements, as well as human factors such as ergonomics, usability knowledge and techniques.
Microsoft has recently implemented UCD to improve its employees. Where previously internal tools were disjointed and built without reference to users, a new transformational project seeks to streamline the employee tools through an integrated user experience informed by a user centric design philosophy.