Advances in cloud and edge computing open endless opportunities to design new solutions to improve products, services, and business operations. IDC forecasts that digital transformation spending will accelerate in the coming years, reaching as high as $2.8 trillion by 2025. For too many enterprises, however, digital transformation projects fail to reach their goals. How can companies move forward with digital innovation that exceeds expectations and improves the lives of users – from your customers to your employees? The answer is keeping the user experience (UX) at the heart of every digital product.
Read on to learn why the user experience is the foundation to success, the critical role of joy in UX design, and how to stay focused on end users at every stage of design.
Use curiosity and compassion to guide digital project priorities – and boost ROI
Digital product success is in the details. Getting curious at the start and asking the right questions goes a long way toward getting those details right. When you get the direction from the beginning, you can develop, build, test, launch, and refine with greater accuracy, agility, and speed. Here’s what you need to determine early on:
- Who are the end users and what do they need?
- What are common user frustrations and productivity roadblocks?
- What is behind these frustrations and roadblocks?
- How and where will end users interact with the solution?
- What are the feature priorities for end users?
It’s important to know that initial answers aren’t always the most accurate. This is why compassion for the end user is essential.
Most customers and stakeholders have experienced digital solutions that didn’t live up to their promise; hence, they may be skeptical that companies will take the time necessary to pinpoint high-priority needs. Alternatively, some end users are convinced they know exactly what they need and the best solution to solve the problem.
Both of these mindsets are fixed – and both can limit possibilities or drive your digital strategies in the wrong direction. Here’s what empathy for end users looks like in practice:
- Engaging a human-centered design approach
- Building trust that the process is focused on their needs
- Asking open-ended questions that foster honest conversations
- Sharing iterations with stakeholders to fine-tune the solution before production
- Focusing on high-priority issues first
- Factoring in user enjoyment
What’s joy got to do with it?
Whether you’re building robotic vacuums or manufacturing equipment monitors, people interact with the product at hand, and every interaction needs to be positive and enjoyable. What does that mean for internet of things (IoT) solutions or digital platforms that deliver artificial intelligence (AI)-driven insights?
It varies by solution, of course, but proof of positive experiences can include frequent and ongoing usage, the emergence of solution advocates, and scalability beyond the pilot project.
Let’s look at a Twisthink IoT and cloud solution for charity: water, an organization building wells to deliver clean drinking water to communities around the world. Their challenge was keeping the wells operational long term.
To uncover the best solution, and deliver the best user experience, we immersed ourselves in the charity: water organization, held ongoing conversations with water experts and engineers, and studied the pumps and their environments. Through this discovery we learned that the challenge wasn’t in building wells, as charity: water has the expertise and process for that, but it was in keeping the clean water flowing over time. We developed a series of prototypes that led to a water flow-monitoring system that was easy to install and use, affordable, and scalable to existing and new wells around the globe.
The resulting IoT solution included:
- A digital sensor that collects data about pump performance and water flow over time
- Connection to the AWS cloud platform for real-time updates
- Digital dashboards that deliver alerts and historic data to guide proactive maintenance scheduling
- Long-life batteries that run uninterrupted for up to 10 years
- Integrated sensor housing for weather and tamper protection
For charity: water users, this means reliable operation, easy-to-use interfaces, real-time detection of problems, and the ability to respond to issues quickly. For millions of pump users around the world, this means clean water and better health.
How to keep the user experience in focus throughout digital solution development
The development of complex digital solutions can feel like a snowball rolling downhill. Projects can develop their own momentum, grow bigger than the original scope, and bounce in the wrong direction.
Here’s how to keep your users in mind so the product is usable, effective, and enjoyable:
Remember that UX impacts multiple users at multiple stages: Engineers. Software designers. Customers. Maintenance engineers. The solution has to provide what each needs for a strong foundation of usability.
Prioritize projects based on needs. You’ll optimize results and fast returns when you understand your areas of greatest need and opportunity. Focus on those first, and then expand and improve.
Elevate simplicity. From minimalist dashboard designs to delivering only necessary data, users thrive when interfaces and information are limited to what they need, when they need it.
Harness existing technology. Platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS) provide the cloud infrastructure and AI tools that propel businesses into the future. When you engage existing, secure technologies, you can focus on delivering high-value digital solutions to your customers faster.
Partner with innovation experts. Getting to the root of user experiences is equal parts art and science. Twisthink has been helping companies create digital solutions and long-term strategies for more than two decades – with humans at the heart of every design.
Ready to build effective, ROI-driving digital solutions that your customers or employees will use and appreciate? Let’s talk!