UX is the glue that sticks people with technology


Bernard Schokman is the Director and Principal Consultant of UX Training who support business project teams with all things UX - Workshops, Training & Project Management. You'll hear him say "UX is the tool we use to Build Better Software Faster!" and "Anyone can UX".

Whatever your definition of UX, you’ll be right. Just understand UX is that and so much more. UX is something that is not only relevant when talking about an end product, but also the customer experience along the way. So what is User Experience? It’s the glue between technology and people.

UX is a process of finding out how people want to use technology and creating solutions that reflect this. It’s not just about moving a button from here to there and hey presto it’s done. Just as it’s not about a business, IT department or the UX department dictating how the solution should be designed.

UX is about uncovering opportunity to make something better using a simple cycle:

ux cycle evaluation analysis action hypothesis

It’s not an exact science. Let me repeat that, it’s NOT an exact science!

It’s a discovery science similar to a business projection or some type of business strategic foresight. It’s a business and a customer being able to speculate on how something will be used and acting on that speculation to determine whether it has value. It’s also very, very disruptive because it’s fundamentally changing the way we’ve been developing software since the dawn of IT. It challenges the argument of “well that’s the way we’ve always done it!” and in doing so challenges a lot of common belief.  But hey, the world wasn’t always round either, was it?

The comfortable place we’re in now and the uncomfortable place of change we have to head over to IS the disruption. Going from zero to one is the hardest step.

Take the Nike motto

"Just do it"

Take the example of software development; we used to have long lead times and it often took us months or years to release the finished product. We wanted a finished product that was almost perfect, if not absolutely perfect. Dot all the Is and cross all the Ts, you have to get through this gate before you’re allowed to go to the next one.

But this approach doesn’t work in today’s fast-paced digital age. It simply takes too long and costs too much before you see a return.

Today we can deploy solutions and updates to the internet almost instantly through cloud technology, rather to a disk, CD or USB stick. This means we can create, test and amend more bite-sized releases, rather than waiting for major releases before getting a chance to see what people will and won’t use. To align with this we also need a process that is more bite-sized; one that seeks out the value customers are looking for, not what they say they’re looking for.

The philosophy of UX is to design what customers say they want but only build what they show us they use.

What they use is of value and should be built. What is not used is a waste of time and resources and shouldn't be built.

UX is creating the right digital solution, for the right audience, that integrates seamlessly into their lives and delivers value for the customer or business. It’s designing for a specific audience in the same way an architect designs for singles, couples or families - actual persons who are going to use the building. It’s about passing over the machine gun to take the sniper rifle and focus intent on a primary customer(s) and loading single 'silver-bullet' designs and inadvertently saying “hey we’re designing for you”.

Most importantly, it’s about discovering pain that someone is experiencing and then removing it.

Approaching solution design from a UX standpoint is about customer discovery. Specifically in designing and building things your customer wants to use, but only building what they show us they use. The value for customer and business alike. And remember...anyone can UX!