Investing in UX is not only of interest to consumer product businesses. A good UX investment that has been properly executed has the ability to remove inefficiencies, save resources, and uncover gaps in your business model or technology. If your products are being used by large institutions or enterprise, then your approach to UX should be tailored to those customers. While there is a lot in common with selling directly to consumers, when selling a B2B solution, there are other considerations to keep in mind. If driving patient engagement, improving aviation safety, or managing complex networks for less technical users is a goal, you need to remember user experience is the experience of a large set of different users interacting with each other and your software – not just a “single” user.
In this situation, UX design has a lot in common with systems modelling and design. In fact, often pragmatically what you are doing is trying to optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of certain users to optimize the system as a whole. A lot of consumer-oriented design principles and approaches still apply, but there are other considerations as well.
But let’s take a step back – if you’re considering making a UX investment for your enterprise solution, you want to make sure you do it right. And to do this, you first need to understand what exactly UX is and the ways that it can make your solution more successful.
What is UX and UI?
A user experience is the result of multiple physical and cognitive touchpoints that a user undergoes when interacting with a system, with the system of interest being your service and/or product. For a large system there are many different users, and many different experiences. In a hospital, this might be doctors, nurses, administrators. Experiences come in different forms – it could be the experience they have using your product, installing your product, getting support and anything in between.
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With a multi-faceted team, a UX designer deliberately designs components of the system (or product) that influence the overall experience a user has with such system. These components could include how information is structured, the “flow” of screens in the product, the nature of a transition between a digital experience and an in-person experience, or even content and tips for a customer service rep – all of which can either facilitate a positive or negative experience for someone interacting with your product or business. Anything that could possibly influence the user experience is designed, explicitly by the UX designer and with input from the rest of the product team.
UI, on the other hand, is a component of UX that typically involves altering the layout, content, and micro-interactions of screens. It can be, and often is, critical to creating successful user experiences, but it doesn’t make up UX entirely. This is why the term UX design cannot be used interchangeably with UI (user interface) design. UX involves interactions of a person with any other person or any other technology (not just “screens” – includes voice interaction, for instance) in the system you are looking at. And those interactions need to be designed intentionally, or they can’t be optimized. Just like technical experts optimize a system to, for instance, share data quickly, UX designers optimize systems so that people are efficient and enjoy themselves when interacting with your product.
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How Will Investing in UX Impact my Business?
Not all those experiences and outcomes will have equal value to the overall business value of your product. If your business is considering investing in UX, you should understand that UX designers are system designers whose goal is to optimize the aspects of your system that involve your customers’ interactions. Think of UX designers as a key resource that can be used to increase your customers’ level of satisfaction, efficiency, or effectiveness with your product or service.
Buyers within organizations will pay to increase efficiency, effectiveness, satisfaction or a combination of these things. Inefficiencies, ineffectiveness, or low satisfaction are examples of customer frustrations that stem from poor UX design and could result in the loss of user interest or product adoption, improper use of the product, miscommunication, and possibly a lost customer.
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Using tools and techniques such as ethnographic research, personas, usage scenarios, customer journey mapping, information architecture, usability testing, visual comps and more, UX experts can optimize areas of customer interaction to meet your business goals (ie increasing revenue, driving patient engagement, simplifying product usage).
Now that you understand what UX design really is and its potential to transform your solution, the next step is to articulate a reasonable business case to invest in this kind of system optimization. This is a topic we’ll explore in future articles. If you’re interested in learning more about how investing in UX can improve your product and impact your business, reach out to our team of experts.
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