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6 Ways User Experience Should Lead Your Digital Transformation

6 Ways User Experience Should Lead Your Digital Transformation

If your organization is changing the way clients, staff, and executives interact with your digital assets, you’re not alone. We’re at the cusp of an age of digital transformation—perhaps catalyzed by the pandemic or a continuation of years of business transformation.

Whether you’re revamping your technology-based innovation program, transitioning from waterfall to lean and iterative software development, or pursuing other means to compete better in a hyper-focused world, one truth remains: Digital transformation is about people, not technology. You must focus on delivering quality digital experiences for all users—customers, employees, shareholders, business partners, and others—to get the results you’re after.

Prioritize users from the start

If you wait until the end of the design phase to engage actual end users to just make your solution “pretty,” you’ve waited too long. Experience design needs to start on day one, if not before, so you accurately combine what users desire with what’s feasible or viable. Remember, your user experiences are your brand.

To that end, delivering user experiences (UX) that excel in both form and function is more complicated than simply asking people what they want. And while collecting data from button clicks, web page visits, shopping cart abandonment, search terms, and social media likes is certainly useful, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

To define, design, and deliver good experiences, you need to understand how people think and feel in specific contexts. You need insights into why different users do what they do. Often, this requires more qualitative research, such as user interviews, with a conscious effort to interpret the science of individual and group behavior. Hearing stories from real people can also build up organizational empathy to put everyone in the right frame of mind.

For more internally focused transformations, prioritizing user experience early allows you to design a solution that may not require training. You also don’t need to work hard for buy-in, because the users are driving the changes based on their needs rather than edict handed down from the executive suite.

Building blocks for effective digital experiences

Every organization is different, but the best way to focus on digital experiences throughout your transformation lifecycle usually includes the following steps:

  • Build in accountability at the top. Make digital experience someone’s primary job at the executive level. This could mean creating a new position, such Chief Design Officer or Chief Experience Officer. Executives should start talking about end user experiences in the same league as stock price, new markets, and corporate strategy. Driving an obsession with experiences from the top down makes a difference.
  • Elevate the importance of quality. Make managers responsible for the overall quality of digital experiences, not just staying under budget and delivering on time. Manage experiences from the middle out.
  • Add specialists to your staff. In addition to the new executive function, hire experts in UX strategy, user research, information architecture, interaction design, user interface writing, and other UX specialties. Put them on your hardest and most important initiatives.
  • Spread the word around. Have your UX professionals teach simpler methods to everyone else so the basics of user feedback and user interface design creep into every nook and cranny of your day-to-day operations. Let insights and ideas bubble up from the people who are closest to end users.
  • Track your progress. Measuring user experiences and analyzing usability metrics are critical steps for achieving business results. You may need to invest a bit more effort and discipline to make connections between how people use a system or solution to results like increased sales, reduced costs from eliminating errors and delays, or higher employee retention.
  • Call in outside help. Stratascale’s Transformative Services team will help you put the pieces in place as you build out your digital experience group and capabilities. From user research through design and implementation, Stratascale provides guidance for an experience-first transformation tailored to your business goals and full complement of users.   

Welcome to the experience economy. Organizations everywhere are changing: the ones that create the best digital experiences won’t just survive, but thrive.

Digital Experience Lead Research Analyst

Keith Instone has been practicing user experience for over 30 years, spanning academia (studying the science of human interaction with technology), industry (with IBM), and as a consultant (to startups, Fortune 100 companies, and in between). 

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