Sometimes you choose badly: It’s why you come to a UX Designer
In a recent study by Gartner, they estimated that “Three in every five software purchases are regretted by IT departments”. They put this down to factors such as unseen costs, but we have another insight, and something perhaps even more qualitative. In this blog, we’re going to dive into why the client isn’t always right when it comes to procuring the right software for a business and the factors that goes into key decisions with software procurement.
We will also discuss the dangers of assuming that they are right and how the skills UX Designers bring to a project can all-together mitigate these purchase regrets.
The Myth of Client Infallibility- Why It’s Dangerous
‘The customer is always right’ is a classic sentiment which stretches across most businesses. However, customer infallibility can be dangerous- especially when it comes to software procurement. Ordinarily, it’s the IT Department and their decision-makers who make the call. Naturally, they will have criteria for what the software must do to fill the void. However, seldom on that list are their considerations for the end user in the criteria. By this, we mean those in charge, often IT Dept. & leaders have a straightforward view of the task at hand and this logical view of functionality can lead to user experience not being prioritised. There can be several reasons for this, including:
- Authority: IT Leaders are leaders for a reason. They are the authority in that organisation and should know what’s best. However, this can lead to a lack of empathy towards user perspectives and lack of adoption
- IT Departments will be dictated goals from upper management and there can be pressure to hit these, leading to a lack of prioritising anything out of that scope.
- Cost: Workshops and focus groups for User Experience development can cost time and money for an organisation. Often, this is not deemed as something worth spending on as much as delivering the core project. This can lead to assumptions being made on how users work.
- Resources: IT Departments may not have the myriad of users available for user testing. Constructing personas giving a good broad base of users are very useful. UX can become biased if you only have part of the picture.
Overall, these factors create a disconnect between the IT Department and the end user. The painful reality of this is that IT decision-makers are not going to get the required results they need in productivity gains, process simplifications or return on investment. If it doesn’t do any of these and move an organisation forward, what’s the point?
The role of a UX designer
With the dangers of client infallibility in mind, UX cannot be understated enough and it’s the role of a UX Designer to ensure that software and user experiences are optimised for maximum return on investment but also satisfaction.
A UX Designer crafts digital experiences, ensuring software and apps are user-friendly and efficient. It’s not just about user interfaces and usability but these skilled professionals, merge user needs with business goals, creating intuitive interfaces through research, prototyping, and testing. Focused on enhancing user satisfaction as well as business outcomes, a UX designer collaborates with cross-functional teams, incorporating feedback to refine designs. This role demands a blend of creativity and analytical skills, aiming to deliver seamless and enjoyable interactions between users and digital products.
UX Design isn’t about telling IT they got it wrong or doing their job better. It’s about taking the vision of IT and ensuring it is fully realised by those with no technical background for maximum organisational effectiveness. Gelling the technical and the creative only enhances the effectiveness of IT and helps IT decision-makers successful change leaders.
Balancing User Feedback and Design Expertise
So, how do we specifically achieve top UX results? The success lies in our experts and our methodology. We use Design thinking and human-centred design. We already have a guide on design thinking, which you can read here but, in short, design thinking is a problem-solving approach that emphasises empathy, creativity, and iterative prototyping to address complex challenges. We use it to blend the user’s needs with digital expertise.
This approach enables IT projects to look beyond logic and functionality and step into the user’s shoes as a means to get the most from an investment. It sometimes can also descope or enrich based on what the business and people actually need. Whilst this may seem fluffy, it’s a proven approach that results in a tailored solution with no regrets.
Simplifying Warehouse Processes with UX Design: Example.
One of the UK’s leading food distribution companies approached us with multiple process complexities that left them with heavy dependence on specialised and skilled employees to carry out manual tasks. Their IT Department had a straightforward vision of what needed to happen to resolve this. A UI was drafted and formed of a prototype set of apps, with a simple visual entry point (UI5 tiles) , reading left to right. These tiles & applications represented the processes.
The straightforward nature of the design left users somewhat confused in feedback. For example, processes could not be viewed entirely, leaving them disjointed and compartmentalised. This lack of visibility would have made completing the process far more confusing.
As such, our UX Designers challenged this. Taking the UI5 tiles, we grouped them by task based on our research. The UI featured task lists and completion icons, helping users to visualise the process with ease, meaning they could quickly establish what needed to happen next. It’s these simple additions from UX Designers that transform business complexities into the best version for the whole organisation, rather than just ‘better’ for middle to upper management.
Redefining the narrative for success with a UX Designer
In challenging the belief that “the customer is always right” in software procurement, the blog underpins the consequences of neglecting end-user experiences within IT decision-making. UX Designers emerge as crucial connectors, using design thinking to blend technical vision with user satisfaction.
By reshaping the narrative of success, UX Designers bridge the gap between IT solutions and user needs, ensuring software not only meets functional criteria but also enhances organisational effectiveness. The example of a food distribution company highlights how thoughtful UX design transforms complexities into optimised solutions, benefiting the entire organisation.
In the dynamic tech landscape, the collaborative synergy between IT and UX Design proves essential. It offers a path to success that surpasses mere managerial satisfaction, benefiting all stakeholders and preventing the ever more common software buyers’ regret. Forward-thinking companies are investing in Hybrid roles/skills that can cover UX design as well as software engineers which is what we do at Bluestonex.