Surround Technologies - Software at the Speed of Business

UX Matters:

First impressions matter. So making an impression that lasts is essential.

First impressions are lasting impressions, whether or not we choose to admit that. From the first time we see something, we judge it solely based on appearance and interaction. This applies to nearly everything in life, including the applications we use every day. So it's fair to say that both UI and UX matter. User Experience (UX) is the expected or actual experience of a user interacting with a product. The moment a user is presented with a design an experience naturally follows. To provide the absolute best user experiences possible we design for each possible user outcome as best we can.

Though a great UX will keep your users happy and hopefully working and navigating as efficiently as possible, UX is not the absolute first impression of a product that they interact with. The User Interface (UI) is what usually draws the initial impression and sets the tone for what the user innately expects with the interaction they are about to experience. A well designed product is more than just branding. It should be visually pleasing, and appeal to the overall customer experience. If a user is drawn to a system, the interaction and general time spent learning the new product will feel more like an friendly excursion rather then training time or a necessary job function. When designed correctly, and tested properly you can provide the best possible design solution to achieve the desired outcome of acceptance and user satisfaction. If you’re not testing, you’re guessing. That’s a risk we don’t like to take.

Almost every product and solution has become about more than just the function it serves, but the masses they appeal to and the efficiency it can provide.

If software runs a business, then its driver is the user. As such, it encompasses a large part of the users life. So, those same users are looking to have more input for products being designed for their use, and to add to that, on the devices they want to use them on. The more users feel they are a part of the design process the more likely they will be to adopt the product. And why wouldn’t they? Being part of the design process, they understand the product was made with their needs in mind. The result being better quality of work provided in faster time. This correlates to a happier business, in all levels, operative to executive. So UX and UI definitely matter now more than ever before. The question at hand is, how much have you invested in yours?

With mobile devices and tablets overtaking desktops as the devices used to browse the internet in 2015, it’s no surprise that 2016 will continue this trend and user expectations of responsive website and applications tailored to users needs on these devices will grow. An application designed solely for desktop use will likely not scale down to a mobile device properly. Failure to prepare for this expectation, is essentially preparing to fail.

If the proliferation of mobile devices and varying screen sizes isn’t enough to justify the need for UX design in this day and age, let’s talk money. Development costs are high. The best use of a developers time, is in fact spent developing. If you would ask a developer what they would prefer to do all day long, they would answer, “just code”. Having a pre-established design prior to beginning development reduces development time in nearly every project we’ve encountered. On average you will find that nearly 50% of development time is spent on rework that could have been avoided. We know fixing errors after development is more costly than if it would have worked correctly the first time. This doesn’t mean errors, this applies to users not adopting a system because business requirements were overlooked, or something just not making sense to users like navigation being out of place or features that lack accessibility or are hidden and out of sight.

What proper UX design provides us is invaluable because UX designers design for the user to achieve their goals, and we do this by testing what works. We talk, survey, live and breathe the user roles to understand what helps and what doesn’t. The competition is a resource. Where as most companies see the competition as a sore spot, UX designers know the competition is where we can gain the a great deal of insight. It’s an easy way to generate user tests and see what is or isn’t working. Long gone are the days of focusing on metrics like time spent on page. We’re designing to achieve our end results faster, and more efficient, so the basis of spending more time doing something doesn’t make sense in every situation. Metrics have changed as user expectations have evolved, and that’s the key.As technology evolves, and expectations change to meet them, a well-designed system can incorporate the old with the new to facilitate not only a simple to use system, but one that is well rounded and makes use of all the technology available to achieve the end goal fast.

At Surround Technologies UX and UI are at the forefront of every project we handle. It is never just about the end result, but what the best possible path to get there is, and that includes both UX and UI. All modern technologies stacks understand the need to support these key components in business development strategies, and as with all of our decisions, the right UX and UI are based on industry best practices and mounds of research and in depth studies looking at every facet of a design from concept to completion.

Will Pereria
UX/UI Designer - Surround Technologies

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