If user experience were equated to that hanging air freshener in the rearview mirror of your life, you wouldn’t expect more out of your application than a fruity whiff and some passing glances. But substance matters. Engagement matters. Purpose matters. How you pass your users through the river of an endless saturation of content and data matters.
If how you perceive your application is based solely on the group of people that interact with it from within the four walls of your company on a daily basis, you are missing the boat. Customer engagement is at an all time high. People want what they want, when they want it, how they want it. Not giving them what they want only makes them drop and run. Taking a step back and approaching your applications with some simple rules about both your development cycle and your consumer base will go a long way to the life of a quality product.
1. Let bygones be bygones
Red rover, red rover, send your old app on over for a much needed overhaul or a simple fine tuning of its massive engine. Whatever the scope, just when you thought your way of dictating the workflow was all that needed to be done. Think again. Learn to embrace the new and the old alike. Your team matters. Your client matters. Your work matters. If none of this were true, we wouldn’t invest our lives into building things that only a handful of people could consume. As people’s appetite for technology increases, our applications must cover the gap between their appetite and aptitude. Don’t think you’re going to escape headaches and hassles that some device or platform will uncover, nor the operator errors raked in by Joe Average. But with some good plans on enhancements and some rigorous testing your application can benefit before these pitfalls can occur.
2. Listen and take notes
Every user-centered lifecycle for design and development has to combine your team’s vast knowledge of the business and discipline while at the same time taking into account the feedback from your prominent clients and users. Sure, some of that feedback you take with a grain of salt, while other times, but how those individuals interact with your application can offer some much needed insights.
Be patient and listen. Sometimes we hear a lot of noise when we try to identify issues that come from a flurry of sources. Your clients are hiring you to produce and exceed their expectations. Once you hear what is being said, you can now re-evaluate your process and interface to better meet the goals and objectives of the project.
3. Make it on purpose
An organization knows that they are designing, prototyping, developing and building for a reason. You aren’t here to play tiddlywinks—you’re here to build a high-quality piece of software that gets results for its users. When soliciting feedback from the team and your audience, try to find a resolution to the problems that come to light. Knowing your goal and need is what drives you to improve—why would any company ever stop at solution #1 when many other great ideas are sure to come up during the lifecycle? Be aware of targeted timelines and avoid feature creep. Nobody likes a bloated app that suffers from exhaustion. Keep it simple and keep it clean.
4. Keep the communication lines open
When your user base is hounding you with requests, you may find out they are really in tune with the products you have so diligently spent your life’s work on. Consider how their requests can enhance your application without breaking the bank. Also, look at ways to keep your correspondence open and to the point with your audience. They’ll enjoy knowing that you care for their opinions, and they’ll also be more likely to share your product with others.