Regardless of what your project is, how large it is, what its purpose is or whatever the goals are, having a user experience strategy is essential to having that project succeed. Go to the reference of this site for more information about user experience labs.
Often, in the excitement of a new project, all the developers, designers and information architects rush in designing, dreaming, and scheming with hardly a thought to the all-important first step: a strategy built upon user experience. What is this strategy, and why is it a big deal?
Defining the Terms: User Experience Design and Strategy.
Jakob Nielsen defined user experience as that which “encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.” The user experience is the way in which individuals connect with your products. Thus, any strategy must be built with the user experience fully in mind. The process of development, roughly defined, goes like this:
1. Fully understand the user experience.
2. Plan the strategy around the understanding of that experience.
3. Apply the strategy in the development of the Internet, desktop, or mobile applications. That first step is the most important part of the development process. Think of it as a pyramid of three levels. The user experience study forms the base of the pyramid. Unless this phase is carefully executed, the rest of the construction will be faulty at best. To read more about the customer experience improvement program, follow the link.
Developing the Process: Strategy from Start to Finish
Strategy, developed according to an optimal user experience, is the key to a successful project of any size. Before the information, architect opens up Balsamiq, and before the designer starts a new Photoshop design, the project has a deeper and more important phase — user research and discovery.
o What does the user need or want? This phase of the project should not be thought of as preliminary or extraneous. User discovery and research is at the heart of a successful project. If the user’s needs are not understood, then any application, no matter how expertly designed, is going to be less effective than it could be.
o What are the real goals? Goals are important, of course, but what goals are in mind here? Any project will be outlined according to its goals, but it is important to distinguish the high-level business goals from the practical-level user goals. As an example, having a high-level target of the project could be to increase conversions and revenues. Fine, but what does this goal look like in terms of the user experience? It isn’t enough to have a “great user experience” as your goal unless you understand the user. User experience goals are the rubber-meets-the-road objectives of the design and development process.
Understanding the Result: Ongoing Success.
A well designed and executed user experience strategy will give you the success you want. Regardless of the changing nature of technology and its applications, there is a fundamental need for long-term success. Understanding the project and its goals from the user point of view is the only way to truly accomplish that ongoing success.