Every day thousands of new software products are available for almost anyone and for everything. The success or the failure of each of them depends directly on the ease with which their users can handle it, therefore, a clear, precise, concise interaction between the user and the new environment of the software is essential to achieve a positive perception.
By making the User Experience (UX) a good experience, users will be happy and they will look for unlimited enjoyment of it, as well as each of the possible developments and updates that may come later. If, on the other hand, the experience is not pleasant, it will create a bad image that will make the users flee of the software and never return, and tell their bad experience to their friends, family and even worse, in forums, on blogs or on any web page related to the subject that your software deals with.
One of the common mistakes is to confuse UX with UI design. UI is the best ally of the UX, but keep in mind that UI is focused on the design, like typography, color, and shape to create a visual experience for navigation. But, one application can be very well designed, yet if it doesn't meet the user's needs, objectives, expectations, and capabilities, the software will not be useful for the users.
However, I came to the idea to write this blog because sometimes we tend to isolate the design of the general process of development as if it were only an aesthetic task that is managed independently. Error! In this article, we expose you the importance of integrating UX, or user experience throughout the development process.
Nowadays, a lot of companies choose to have software to interact with their customers or to improve the work of their employees – and executives realize that apart of the functionality of that software, is very important to have enjoyable and easy-to-use software in order to drive the business forward.
The involvement of the UX designer in the development process depends on the culture of the company and the understanding the importance of the UX in the product.
As we already mentioned above it is common to associate the roles of the UX with UI, leaving aside some more important UX tasks like research, psychology, copywriting and analysis.
UX designers go through qualitative and quantitative methods in order to get to know the end users thoroughly. For that purpose, it is essential to analyze, understand and assess their attitudes and behavior. So, let's start with questions such as, what kind of users are our target? What is their experience using this kind of software? What are they expecting? How can they engage with the product? The answers to these questions are valuable data that needs to be analyzed in order to create a good UX strategy, that includes the UI part as well.
Smart companies normally integrate the UX process into the agile software development lifecycle. How? You need to follow a few steps.
Before starting with the design, the UX designer needs to have time for user research. With the user analysis, it will be easier to determine how the product will be like, and it will be easier to define the product conceptualization and the estimation. In other words, the designer has to provide a basis for developers, in order to ensure from the very start, that the product will be functional as much as usable.
UX designers should also work using the Agile methodology, using iterations in order to get feedback from the users and evaluate the usability features as soon as possible. If we want to sync the designer with the development team, then the most helpful method is to have the designer one sprint ahead. So, they can evaluate and discuss the design and development features at the same time. If there are some changes that need to be done during the development process, the UX designer must provide a solution for this form a user perspective.
If the designer solves an issue in the design stage it will cost you 1$, if you wait to solve the problem during the development it will cost you10$, but if the designer solves it after the release it may cost you even 100$ or more.
So, we come to the conclusion that if we involve the UX designer in the SDLC from the very start, the company and the client save time and money, getting a user-centered product.
A pearl of new school wisdom is that every dollar spent on UX can bring you up to 100$ revenue.
- Better UX can increase the conversion rate and revenue
- Better UX can lower development time
- Better UX can increase user retention and brand loyalty
- Better UX can provide higher efficiency of the product with less support
Although it is not common, having a UX designer involved in the QA team makes you one step ahead. The QA Engineers identify errors or bugs in the code, but they not always can test the UI/UX with the same expertise as the UX designer. After the launch of the product, there is a maintenance stage, where developers and QAs continue to work together. As technology rapidly changes, functionality and usability expectations are evolving as well, that's why the UX designer needs to be included in this stage in order to refine and update the product.
In conclusion, the integration of the UX designers in the SDLC adds additional value for the customers. It makes sure that the product meets the needs and expectations of the users at all levels and stages. It can boost the performance of the development team and avoid spending unnecessary development time and effort that means economic loss, and at the same time helps you deliver a loveable high-quality product that ensures customer satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty.