The business world is ever changing, due to the needs of an evolving population. While the needs of the customers drive the changes, a large part of that change is also due to technological advancements. In many industries web and phone based applications are a pivotal part of the business. They may work both in bringing the product to consumers or in assisting the internal teams in completing their tasks.
Though these applications play a key role in ensuring the success of the business, their effectiveness depends on several factors including how intuitive they are, ease of use, and functionality.
UX design is the process we follow to ensure that our applications remain not only viable to users but in fact are a delight to use. Today let’s focus on identifying when you should consider upgrading your application’s UX design.
Why should you update UX?
When we talk about a web or mobile application, it helps to think of it as an organism that is constantly evolving to keep up with environmental stimuli. As discussed before, these stimuli can take the form of technical changes or behavioural changes. There may even be changes in the direction of the company or their products. Therefore it is a given that the product’s UX should also evolve to keep it relevant to current dictates, which may include:
- Adding new features
- Changing functionality to be more intuitive
- Changes in customer base
- Increase customer satisfaction
- Bring in current trends to the app infrastructure
When should you update UX?
A UX update can be a costly and time consuming affair. Many businesses may be reluctant to put in the investment without good reason. It is important therefore to understand when this kind of effort should be undertaken and not simply make changes to an application which is reaching all intended targets. It is equally important to ensure that UX updates happen in a planned and timely manner so as to not disrupt the business or the consumers routine.
Reasons to Consider Updating UX
During the life cycle of your product consumers will provide you with feedback on their experience using it, you may even have separate initiatives to gather this feedback. This remains one of your best sources of identifying where the app has fallen short of meeting customer expectations. Constant market research will also show you how other apps and businesses handle similar issues to what you are catering for. This feedback is to be gathered, sorted, and filtered into a to do list in order to improve your app's UX. These can range in anything from simplifying your onboarding process, to streamlining a workflow in order to reduce the number of steps a client is forced to take. Some of these changes may reflect on the screen, while others will be under the hood. What is important to note is that each of these changes, in their own way, will move towards improving customer delight.
Introduction of new devices and channels
The introduction of new devices is a strong signal to revisit your UX design. Most applications are built for the technology and devices present at the time of development, and bringing new devices into the fold opens up a whole new world of possibilities. A clear example of this is when businesses move to tablet apps from websites run on PCs/Laptops. While this is mostly relevant to internal applications, this can have effects on consumer apps as well. The introduction of new technology in mobile devices (touch, retina display, location tracking, NFC etc) brought about a new dimension to UX design in applications.
New design concepts
As businesses and consumers evolve, so do their expectations from applications. These changes are not exclusive to the functionality of the app, but also the look and feel. We have seen how changes in fonts, logos, icons, and imagery have changed over the years. These changes not only help apps look more pleasing, but also increase the load times and overall consistency of applications. Leading to increased customer satisfaction. In addition to these changes bring about new ways of using applications. For example, the tiles navigation used by Windows devices, or the cards concept, currently used by many applications. Another example of a design change is the move to responsive applications that not only work across devices, but can present users with different ways of accomplishing the same task based on which device is being used.
Successful UX updates
As discussed in the previous section, UX upgrades can be costly both in terms of time and finances. It is important to know exactly what you are going for, and to roll out the updates in a way that doesn’t upset your user base, be it external or internal.
Never try to guess what users want from your applications. Or, if you start by guesstimating, then move on to real user based research. There are so many applications where the development team thought they knew what users wanted better than the users themselves, and were finally unsuccessful on launch. Identify who your customers are, talk to them about what they like and dislike in your current iteration. Using this information draw up an upgrade project and prioritise your tasks based on what changes would bring the most amount of satisfaction and cost the least to implement. Focus groups are a great way to go about this, as they are basically customers who are working for you. Involve them from the planning stage onwards and run your decisions by them. You will find a much higher success rate than by focusing on internal feedback alone.
Test, test, test
At each possible opportunity, test the changes with your team, focus group, and even other users. Don’t wait until the product’s redesign is completed, but instead bring your wireframes and flows to your teams and any users who might be able to help you with them. Incorporate their feedback to further enhance the changes you are planning. In some cases it may even be necessary to completely design what you had in mind. There are even cases where users who suggested a certain change are not happy with how it is when implemented in the app. It is also important to remember that it is well nigh impossible to build a product that will meet with everyone's unequivocal approval. Your goal should be to have a product that resonates with your users and provides a high level of satisfaction on use.
A Final Word
UX redesign, while being resource intensive, is an important part of continuing to be relevant in the business world and having apps that delight users. Maintaining customer delight is a constant race to incorporate new technology and concepts to a changing consumer base. While it can be a challenging task to stay on top of a constantly evolving market, you can get help when it comes to making sure your app remains relevant to users. UX design companies are specialised in helping you research and find out what and when changes need to be incorporated to your application. Talk to us to find out how your application can be improved to delight your users and promote engagement.