User Experience for Saas
User Experience (UX) Design is a broad field and UX for software is less mentioned on the web. It’s not just about usability, interaction design and information architect, it also involves psychology, strategy, copy writing, and the entire life cycle of the products and how users relate to them. We must always strive to improve our users’ experience regardless of who they are (young, middle aged or elderly), where they are (indoors or outdoors), what they use (desktop, tablet, or mobile) and which channel they are on (online/digital or offline/physical). So what is the first step? – get to know your users. Create personas for each of them.
I have tackled this in my position, as Design Director . When I don’t have a focus group, nor data to support my themes, I rely on my in-house Sales team who provide years of experience on the field and I am lucky to have that. If you’re in the same boat, what can you do? – research! Go online and review sites such as Forrester and Gartner – they have analysts who conduct global research on all types of industries and provide information to help us make key decisions on the direction we should take.
Anyway, back to UX, before you start drawing or creating wire frames, you must list the functionalities the software needs to provide in order for your customers to buy it. In order to build for your target market, you need to go out and see what they are currently doing to meet their objectives or how they are using your current products in a spirit of discover. In order to excel at design you must understand your users and design for them; not for yourself or your client – after all, your client wants his business to succeed. Think of yourself as a user centered designer. After meeting several users, not just one – a good number is 18 to 21 different users. Later create a persona and single out similarities and differences. Keep the personas and functionality list near you, it will keep you focus throughout your process as to who you are creating this for.
You will need to pin down what functionalities you wish to offer your users, you can do this by discovering red routes. Red routes are areas or objectives that your users need most of the time. These are features that must be easy to access and clutter free. Think of Google search page, users arrive looking for something, Google doesn’t get in their way, their home page is transparent in that objective with just a simple search box.
With your personas and list of functionalities at hand, invite your UX design team and invite the development to create a crude prototype. Nothing fancy, you can just start by drawing something on paper and share it among each other. The development can tell you want they can create, you may have to help them become creative in their coding. You must not forget the user, you can go back to a few of them, the ones that had similarities and provide them with your drawings or by now your prototype to go over and over during the phase of this process. Don’t be afraid of correcting your course, should you discover a better way of meeting your objective.
Depending on the scope of work, you may be asked to have a key performance indicators or KPI that can measure the increase in effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction. Yes, satisfaction – its the feeling the user has after they have used your product or visited your site. I may have to write a separate article on this alone.