The modern, correct process of creating a digital product, such as a web or mobile application, involves several stages: research and analysis, technology definition, UX design and validation, visual design, implementation, tests and iterations of subsequent corrections. Unfortunately, due to budgetary constraints, the process often lacks UX design and validation. What happens to a product that has not been developed without thinking about its usability and intuitiveness?
“To stay on budget”
Often the beginning story for digital products is similar: someone sees an unmet need, a gap in the market. Sometimes a new product is intended to be a response to existing solutions that require improvement, which are difficult to use and require a lot of effort from users to achieve their goals. The product will not be created without programming facilities, so it is organized in the early stages of a budding startup, e.g. in parallel with the financing stage.
The idea is to create an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). However, in order to fit within a limited budget – especially if it is bootstrapped (with minimal financial outlays, e.g. using the funds of one of its founders) – the decision is often made to “design” the application by programmers, using ready-made component kits and libraries (frameworks). This approach is supported by the belief that, first of all, the product will work because it is built by programmers who have the appropriate technical knowledge and are able to build such products. Second: when creating a product, a framework (e.g. material design) will be used, which will be a remedy for the usability issue. And yet Google knows what it is doing.
Even if an agile software development methodology is used, skipping the design stage will be a mistake.
A common mistake is to skip very important stages of the project, ie “requirements gathering”, and then “analysis” and “planning” on their basis. Admittedly, on rare occasions, the use of off-the-shelf components may be sufficient to build a sensible MVP that will provide further learning about users and their behavior. Examples include products that are “clones” of foreign products or are based on known design patterns. However , the overall User Experience suffers in most cases . Usability itself is not as good as it may seem when you reach for the framework. One problem is that different components can be used in different ways. Inadequate or inconsistent use will lead to problems of use and increasing user frustration.
Lack of utility can only compensate for learnability or its uniqueness, when it is the only such solution on the market. However, it should be remembered that in a moment a competitive product based on ours may be created, which will be useful and intuitive, and will also offer exactly the functionalities that users need. The mere construction of a product without UX does not mean that it is completely lost. You will probably have to spend much more money on its subsequent reconstruction.
You should gather knowledge on the basis of the existing MVP, collect and analyze statistical data, conduct A / B tests, tests with users, conduct a usability audit. From this picture, a vision of how the product should be improved, e.g. according to Pareto Principles (80/20 Principle) and further developed.
UX designing helps in creating a useful and intuitive product from the very beginning.
If the implementation of the project provides for ux design , research and testing of the product at an early stage of its existence, as a consequence it will be known: are we addressing the real need? Will users know how to use such a product? Is the principle of operation consistent with the mental model of the recipients? How will potential users react to it? And finally – is it worth investing in it? It’s worth taking a look at how the world’s largest companies are changing their culture of creating digital products – from a programming approach to creating using user-centered design methodologies .
An example from the world of design tools is Photoshop vs Sketch. After two decades of product dominance by Adobe, Sketch was created in 2010, whose creators focused on users, focusing only those functionalities that were used by web and mobile application designers and arranged them in an intuitive interface. As a result, Sketch became Tool No. 1 for designers.
Today, however, the competition among these products is much greater. Programs are created that are based on Sketch’s achievements and try to implement new, constantly evolving user requirements. The aforementioned Adobe company has become very close to users, working in iterative mode and listening to the voices of users. The result of this new process was Adobe XD, very well received by the UI and UX design community. Google itself has finally undergone a complete metamorphosis. The company changed its approach by 180 degrees, following the slogan: “Focus on the user and all else will follow”. The company has redesigned all its web products and the Android platform. These products are constantly evolving to follow the needs of users. Google also tries to predict and propose new solutions for its target group based on its needs. Google also attempted to develop its own variation of the design process, known as Google Design Sprints.
Designing a good UX is not only about better user experience with the product.
It is an examination of the users’ needs and a better adjustment of the product shape to the expectations or mental model of the target group. UX in the product shaping process means :
- the advantage of this product over its competitors,
- better start on the market (larger group of early adopters), better user perception (opinions), greater willingness to use and, as a result, greater profit and more data for its development.