As technology keeps expanding and increasingly more of our everyday tasks are being automated, there are lots of companies turning to custom application development for business solutions. Custom development is a great way to create applications that are personalized for your company and task, but all too often the users are overlooked in the process.
As an Application Development Consultant, I have seen project teams focusing on the features of a program and forgetting their users. This is something I have even been guilty of myself. Often times when we sit down to talk about custom software, we try and cram so many features into it that we don’t take the time to make sure the users will have a good experience. While having great features in the software is important, the experience the users have is vital.
As a general rule, people will normally share their experiences with the world. If users have a good experience, your name, or your company’s name, will be shared and more users will want to try your software. Conversely, they will also share quickly when they have a bad experience or don’t like your product. I have found that while offering many good features in an application is important, the user’s experience on your application plays an even greater role in whether they share good or bad reviews.
While having a UI/UX designer on the team, or consulting with one is a great help, everyone on the team needs to take ownership of the user experience. This includes the project managers, the sales personnel, the quality assurance team, and especially the development team. We all play a vital role in making sure that our users will walk away after using our application with nice warm feelings. We want to help users in their tasks, not frustrate them with broken, or complicated steps.
Here are a few things that everyone on your team can pay attention to in order to make the user experience the best it can be.
Don’t assume the user will know how to operate the site. Don’t assume that they will know to click the button or type their name, etc. Make your buttons, words, and instructions clear and precise.
Don’t cram too many features in one place. Keep your pages and your forms clean and simple. Too much going on can often confuse a user and cause them to have a bad experience.
Keep your navigation simple. A user should not have to click on multiple links to get where they are trying to go. Users should be able to easily get to where they want to go.
Make error messages clear. This is especially true regarding form validation. The error should tell the user in a clear and understandable manner what they didn’t do right or what went wrong.
Keep your styles simple. Too many different colors or styles on a page can be distracting to a user.
The bottom line is that while it is important to provide many features in your project, and also important to keep your code maintainable, the user’s judgement of your work will ultimately depend on the experience you provide for them. It is important that everyone on your team take ownership of this experience and work to provide the best user experience possible.
If you enjoyed this blog, would like to know more, or need help with your user experience, please don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions or comments. Here at Sparkhound, our developers follow these and many other great coding practices. We would love to have a conversation with you today about making your business the best it can be through leadership and technology.