Creating easy to use software increases customer satisfaction, reduces support costs and is easier to sell. Understanding user needs and supporting tasks & contexts is central to the delivery of effective software solutions.
Designing UI for software is a specialist skill that is different from standard web design. It’s often about complex interactions, specific user types, technology constraints, and utilitarian invisible design. Communication is vital in integrating with your development team and processes, creating solutions that support needs and delivering UI code that’s easy to implement.
Understanding user Groups
Understanding target end users’ needs & contexts of use is an important first step, focusing on solving real-world needs is central to the success of any software solution.
Often target users have domain expertise and want to complete tasks effectively and efficiently in a UI that flows smoothly and reacts quickly to the user’s actions. Overly simplified task flows can be cumbersome and unproductive for a target end user.
In contrast, first-time or novice users need to understand the tasks quickly & easily with as little training as possible. A UI needs to accommodate multiple user types and their specific needs. Finding this balance while also supporting underlying infrastructure, backend processes, technical constraints etc. is key to developing successful software.
Enterprise users expect their professional software to be as intuitive and user-friendly as their personal digital experiences. Employees demand that their tools work for them and allow them to collaborate and access data in real-time. Working from the office or at home (or commuting between the two), increasingly people are ‘always on’ and their tools need to accommodate this.
While the phenomenal rate at which new technologies (eg. AI, Voice-controlled devices, IoT, XR etc.) are released not only impacts how users interact with software but it also impacts the user’s expectations of what software can do. Understanding context is central to the effective use of these technologies.
User Centred Design (rather than user led)
Good UX creates real, quantifiable value for enterprises while understanding users and designing for their needs is imperative it’s important to note that users do not always accurately express what they need or think. Responding to a superficial request without context can be counter-productive, often resulting in an endless stream of feature requests resulting in products cluttered with functionality, requiring additional training and support needs. Creating excellent experiences means combining insight with innovation and delivering solutions that work for both you and your customers.
Agile Replacing Waterfall
Creating a user-friendly UI through insightful design is essential to the success of a product, however, we understand that the process does not end with design. The need to collaborate with development teams on an ongoing basis and address needs and constraints is just as important as understanding the needs of the end user.
Development teams and product managers are under increasing pressure to get products and services to market quickly. Methodologies such as Agile, Extreme Programming, Lean, and Lean Start-up are now all mainstream. UX design needs to support these processes. This means close collaboration across teams and delivering UI architecture that is modular, flexible, and extensible.
Excellent UX does not just benefit end users, it also empowers your sales process in communicating powerful features and easy of onboarding to potential customers. Dashboards and reporting tools can reveal valuable data and insights while also acting as a springboard for a user’s workflow and highlighting actionable items.
Leveraging the potential of UX in your software solution can give you an advantage over your competitors. A well-designed UI that is both user-friendly and technically advanced will not only keep your customers happy with your product but also make them advocates for your software. By making effective use of UX, you can set your software apart from the rest.
Our multi-disciplinary software design team is based in our studio in Dublin, Ireland. Unlike most design consultancies, our research is conducted by professional researchers while our design team have two decades of experience in complex systems, software programmes, usability, psychology, data visualisation, computer science and business process improvement. We engage with all stakeholders, understanding their environments and creating solutions that work at every touchpoint. Contact us to collaborate on your upcoming software project.