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For whom, if not for the user?

Key Visual Tech Talk

Despite all strategic considerations: If the users are not involved in the introduction of a new IT solution, there is no point in introducing it. With User Centered Design, companies address this problem and invest where it effectively makes a difference.


by Daniel Keller

When a new product, an IT solution, is designed, the goal should actually be one thing first and foremost: That the users are satisfied with it and can carry out the desired actions as easily as possible and without pitfalls - basically. In practice, however, this often looks different.

When developing a product, the focus is only on the strategic goals of the client - and the user and his or her needs are left out of the equation. Coffee machines with poor touchscreens are emblematic of this. The user only wants one thing: to get the desired coffee without any detours.

Instead, they have to struggle with poorly implemented technical finesse. Who benefits from poorly designed touchscreens? Examples abound in IT applications. Just imagine how many hours are lost in companies because someone was muted in a video call, from which a prominent display of "you are muted!" could have prevented them - or how annoying it is when, of all the many diagrams in the BI dashboard, the most important one is displayed too small and relevant information is not visible.

As these examples show, user-centred design is therefore of great importance, not least in the working environment. If the design of new products is not adapted to the users in such a way that they can work as easily and efficiently as possible, this can have far-reaching effects on the entire company. On the one hand, this can lead to frustrated and annoyed employees who then no longer (want to) use the solutions. On the other hand, such deficiencies can quickly add up, especially with many users, and lead to wasted resources, quality losses and even the loss of customers.


First test, then invest

Such problems usually do not arise because it would be so complicated or costly to create an appealing solution for the users. For many use cases, solutions and features already exist. However, the realisation of which of these are appropriate and useful requires a prior discussion with the corresponding users. As soon as the customer's objective is known, it is therefore important to get the end users on board immediately or to find out their needs. A common mistake is that specialists such as designers, developers and requirements engineers assume that they know what the users need. However, this often leads to a lack of user acceptance for the solution or it is simply not used. For a company, this means lost money.

Therefore, not only do assumptions have to be made, but they also have to be verified in contact with the target group: Who are the users exactly? What do they do? What bothers them? What are their goals? In this user research, the greatest risks are prioritised in order to sketch out an initial solution idea. But that is only half the battle. The next step is to test this solution idea as inexpensively as possible. This means, for example, creating and testing prototypes or carrying out A/B testing. In this way, further insights can flow into the solution and the users can be met in the best possible way before it is actually implemented or a lot of money is invested from the company's point of view.

At the overlap of strategic goals and user needs, a solution emerges that creates the optimal added value with a user experience. The better these factors are aligned, the higher the added value.

Source: Trivadis

 

New insights for strategy

In the end, User Centered Design is not in competition with the strategic considerations or simply a concert of wishes of the employees or end customers. The strategy forms the framework and User Centered Design helps to ensure that it can be implemented even better and is supported. In many cases, user-centred activities can also bring new insights for the strategy.

Finally, User Centered Design enables a company to do one thing above all: to invest in exactly the solution that will have the greatest effect - namely the one with which the users can fulfil their tasks most efficiently and achieve the best results.

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