Till a few years back, user experience or what we popularly call the UX was never the focus while developing software applications. How should the user interface of the application be so that it creates a smooth and consistent user experience and wins hearts of users was not thought about.
But obviously now, the tables have turned upside down. More than the features and functionalities of the application, it is the UX which matters today.
That’s because good user interface design determines the success of an application. If the customers find the application to be too complicated to navigate or too busy and confusing, then irrespective of how many features and add-ons it provides, it will be left desolated, untouched and unused.
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This is the reason that most leading business application development service providers have drastically modified their custom software development approach. It is not only about designing and developing self-righteous modules. While creating the UI of the application, custom software developers are putting the focus on aesthetics and the brand but most importantly on user orientation.
So what steps are being used by custom software development companies to ensure great UX?
1. Studying the Target Audience
Communicating with the target audience to understand their thinking constitutes the first step. Developers interact with the existing and potential users on different levels to gain their voice and emotions and incorporate these insights into the application UI.
Note: Understanding audience’s preference is not done in the form of a traditional interview. Rather different activities are included in this step. For instance:
i. Play: Many developers involve users in a game designed around the application. As the game is played, users’ natural, non-biased emotional reactions are closely observed.
ii. Personal Experience: In case of an existing application, developers encourage users to share their experiences while using any particular module or functionality. Hearing customer stories and experiences give great insight to the developers.
iii. Real-time view: The application is given to a section of audience for a limited period. Then the usage pattern is closely monitored by the developers to understand common navigation patterns and how they can be optimized.
All these methods in total give comprehensive answers to critical questions:
– How should the application behave?
– What value should the application give?
– What should the application look like to be easy to use?
2. Framing the right design UI
The best software developers strive to balance between functionality and aestheticism. Their preference is mostly towards flat design that facilitates necessary elements in user interface, clarity and adaptability to both desktop and mobile screen.
Instead of randomly plugging apps together, developers stress on building the features within the application. Since the features are all built-in, there is uniformity in the application. The look and feel of the application is same throughout and all aspects become self-explanatory. This reduces the learning curve and makes it super easy for the end users to work. Instead of going through long training sessions, users just learn one module and get the rest through intuition.
3. Testing and Experimenting
Engineering the right User Interface of the application is no mean feat. So once the user feedback is gathered successfully, it is time for experimentation. Instead of creating one interface and going with it, developers create multiple interfaces to choose from.
Each interface is tested live and the one that goes maximum in line with users’ expectation gets finalized. This method ensures that the application design produces positive results and reflects the voice, emotion and preference of the users aptly.
In case of below standard results for all user interfaces, revision and modifications are done to them. A/B testing happens again and the one that reaches the highest level of customer expectation gets the green signal.
4. Gathering Feedback
In a stark contrast to the earlier times, today, modifications in user interface does not stop at the release of the application. At least, this is what the leading custom application development companies say. Their development teams look at application roll-out as the new gateway to UI improvement and enhancement.
So they plan and conduct surveys to gather feedback about how easy is the application to the end users. In some cases, the application is also integrated with tools that map the usage pattern and help to identify the loopholes and modify the application UI to users’ preference.
It is easy to create a fancy application but if it does not fulfill the requirements that the end users are looking for, then all of these bell’s and whistles are for nothing. The best design and development teams have understood the importance of UI and UX and are creating systems that are both engaging and easy to use. And that’s ideally what the approach should be. Do you agree??