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.
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.
Every organization is different, but the best way to focus on digital experiences throughout your transformation lifecycle usually includes the following steps:
Welcome to the experience economy. Organizations everywhere are changing: the ones that create the best digital experiences won’t just survive, but thrive.
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).