In which way we approach the continuous improvement of UX in Liferay?. It is always under the perspective of a continuous evaluation.
This so “formative” methodology is the direct consequence of our strong commitment to improve everyday in generating positive sensations and empowerment the idea that when we design and think about something, we must open our mind to new possibilities and translate the test’s feedbacks and the users’ comments, in an impacting treasure in themselves.
Everyday, lots of applications are incorporated, new patterns of use, new ways of interactions, and from all of them, we have to develop a plan of actions, that impact frequently in the user experience with Liferay.
Analyze, evaluate, design, test, develop new functionalities is the daily task more important realized from the UX department. For them, we can detail in commandments format, in an informal way, some behaviours that always rule our jobs:
Investigate new patterns.
Analyze comprehensively functionalities and behaviours.
Learn from our mistakes and transform them in positive experiences.
Less is more, if the user and his needs not being damned.
Never take for granted anything: the user does not have the technical knowledge of our product’s developers.
The user is the one determining the product’s success or fail.
The unsuccess product’s cemetery is full of beautiful interfaces and marvellous buttons.
We must identify and analyze our audience’s needs.
UX is the union of everything. It is the glue that assembles and binds the different components: if the glue is bad, some elements will fall.
Improve our product the user’s quality of life in his need and context.
Question all the functionalities and associated behaviours.
We can always improve our product.
Be receptive and never reject any feedback. We always can offer new and best sensations to the user taking into account that is indispensable. We must decide in know how to see, know how to understand and, over all, know how to listen and study our users.
In a more descriptive way, the continuous prospection and evaluation is generated realising constant evaluations as heuristics as experts, and the evaluations with users using techniques like focus group, etc. An indispensable part of the competence and our team’s experience is to know how to coordinate and program the type of test and evaluation techniques as the ideals for every part of the process and for what functionalities are needed for those checks.
Relationships & Dimensions
All the sensations are analyzed constantly (test with or without users) and passed on in later applications or improvements, in order to influence positively in the user’s behaviours associated with the product. Those sensations could be influenced by the context of the use, cultural characteristics, etc…
Between all the possible action points we have to analyze, the main is the relationship between the difficulty of the use of the product, the underlying complexity between the objective of what the product must do and what the user gets and how gets it; that is the final purpose of any type of study.
Those relationships must be defined, establishing dimensions between all the involved factors:
Ethically: that product must satisfy the user’s needs, at least the initial needs that made him to decide for that product and not any other. But, even more, it must satisfy something that from Liferay we have as purpose and daily dogma: design, develop and offer a product that improve the user’s quality life. It is hard, but not impossible.
Relatively: Only the products adapting to the users’ real needs, with a target or prefixed audience, can generate a satisfactory User Experience. A product is not created due to an irreal need, it must always establish a relationship between all the tasks that develops, the tasks offering, and the studied needs that the audience requires. That dimension establishes that if there are loose ends not solved (needs) is impossible that the user gets his purposes, so the product is not useful.
Empirically: All the feelings, all the patterns of use and behaviours, can be analyzed and measured: Effectiveness, Efficiency, learning curve, satisfaction, association between mark and product, barriers and obstacles’ analysis that some groups can find when they use the product, or, for instance, how the user reminds the use of the product when he has not used for a while, etc.
Action / Reaction
Regardless of the type of study, of the format of evaluation or even the prospection and cataloging metrics obtained from them, we must never study or analyze the different areas in a separate way, without taking into account, like a common point, the dogmatic triangle that rules every type of strategy to improve the User Experience. Personally, I always use a definition of the concept of what is the UX by Andrew Dillon in 2001:’.
UX is the synthesizing of the most essentials behaviours associated to an user, to their interactions and senses obtained. Action, Result and Emotion.
“What the user realizes, what the product generates or returns about what the user asks, and the sense the user obtains of that action / reaction”.
Must the companies worry about UX?
YES, in all, UX is a way to an ending; it is not only to create positive experiences to get the happiness of someone. We want to drive, advice, give a sense to our product, and, even, generate senses that influence in the users to provoke they decide for our product.
Let’s see from a perspective of a website: when the user gets in it, he gets and provokes different interactions that generate a possible positive conversion between potential user and potential consumer of our product. I like it? I don’t like it? These sensations have a sudden impact in social networks: this product is very good, I recommend it… Thousands of potential consumers receive the tweet or publication depending on the experience and achievements obtained by that user, generating and influencing in the perception of the user reading straightly.
Great! Our sensation and our achievements in that product have been “spread “ automatically to a similar audience target or, in our best wishes, in other targets not studied nor analyzed. The user experience is more important than what we imagine at the beginning, more than the people can imagine. That user experience in similar environments, for instance, with similar products in functionalities, and even with similar interaction patterns, generate a type of habitual interaction, replacing the usual “first explain and after show”. Nowadays, when someone needs to explain, it means he has failed in all the aspects including in the UX.
Let’s see a real example, widespread in internet: “The 300 millions dollars’ button”.
This story is widespread in internet, and looking at the origin of some of the people who wrote it, it is so truly, that my only doubt is if there is other company apart the one we are thinking about.
It´s based in how a simple modification of a buy form in a website generated incomes for more than 300 millions dollars per year. Almost 45% more of potential buyers consummate their petitions and passed from consult and look to buy.
In this site, it was necessary to be registered before buying; however, if the customers came back, different scenes appear: they wanted to finish their buy, they forgot they were previously registered, or, for instance, they forgot the data they have used to register. How do they solve this lost of potential buyers? Easy and fast.
The UX designers decide to remove the register button in the buy process, and they put another (it is sure we remember it) with the legend “Continue” and the following text (You don’t need to create an account to realize your buy in our website. Click in “Continue” to pay your product….).
Results: 45% of conversion from potential buyers in collected sales, with an increase in annual billing of 300 millions dollars.
To my understanding, I think the effort in the analysis and ROI of that investigation of the process of conversion and buy by the UX responsible, was very profitable.
Could we assure 100% that our great product, website, etc has a marvellous UX? We could always improve something, and that could mean important profits that up to this moment we are not getting. Does it worth? ALWAYS.