or the real world user experience
At last, we are beginning to see that the companies behind the brands are understanding the importance of the user experience of their products and services. We are living in the age where we are surrounded by technology that simplifies our life and for consequence, the standard of satisfaction level for the people rises. Today, we are surrounded by unimaginable possibilities.
Already it has been talked enough about ROI (Return of Investment) and also it has been highlighted that the user experience it’s not about usability only, but also other aspects very important like accessibility, transparency, and functionality.
And it is exactly that last one aspect that sometimes the designers -many of us- tend to forget or leave it other hands because we considered that it escapes of our skills.
Despite the years of learning and continuous improvement of our practices, we the designers have returned to stay in the “comfort zone”. We have put more emphasis on research and approaching people (users), but we have forgotten the most important thing: the implementation.
Doing a parallel with architecture (that is also design, by the way) worths to wonder. What matters designing a beautiful house if the builder works with the unfit materials, in an unfit ground?, What matters designing an app that resolves well one or more problems, if it doesn’t really work? Logic response: Nothing, obviously.
Then, what is the role that we should have like user experience designers?
Not enough with imagining an ideal world, we must fight to reach it.
When we face the issue, as designers head-on to the challenge, we always search the best solution. We use out all the tools that we have in our hands to achieve it. We propose a work methodology that requires several research techniques. We interviewed and observe people, we throw away some ideas, we work out prototypes of different fidelities, we test with users, we iterate, we get better until finally get off the ideal product. We defined goals and KPIs to know if we’ll reach them. And after then all that hard work we forget it because we pass the responsibility to others that who will have a mission of transforming that prototype in something real. In architecture, there will be civil engineers and in software development (our field) will be the developers or programmers.
However, the bad news is that our work doesn’t end when we deliver the prototype and we forget about it. That it’s not enough. Our work neither ends when programmers compile their code without bugs and upload it to production. The truth is that our work never ends. It’s endless. Maybe in architecture, it ends when the building is built, because the cost is bigger or the buildings just can’t be modified or undone when the architect comes to mind. But in software, we have that advantage and we must avail it.
The final outcome is everything
The true user experience doesn’t occur on a prototype. Although we test it with 500 people, the information that we will get, always will be different to reality. For much that we trying copy context, we won’t reach the real experience. Not for that it doesn’t worth practice user testings. Off course not.
But designers, we can’t feel satisfied only with that we learned it of users testing a prototype. We have that to learn of real users when they are using a real product to keep improve towards the future.
The designers neither can’t leave “our design” in hands of others “implementers” well no more. We must care about the development and ensure that the designed experience will be optimal. That is why we have to empathize not only with users but also with those “constructors”. We have to understand their language and communicate with them in their terms. We have to work side by side, to dip our hands and overall we have to learn to work as a team. And we must insist on that.
We must be expectant and always be part of the development flow by reacting on time when it occurs, the obstacles, and searching alternatives and validated solutions that don’t change the final goal. As to search the agile way to add value to the workflow as soon as possible.
So, we must understand the designers are key in all the process because to design an experience it’s not just to research and to propose solutions but also execute them well. We must be able to accompany, to guide and to care development and implementation because a bad outcome can throw away any previous effort. A bad experience in context and in real execution time, can fail for one piece, can destroy everything, like blowing a cards tower.