Organisations that create software have become increasingly aware of the importance of the experience that software provides to users. There are many reasons why user experience (UX) is important, including increased application adoption or sales, brand perception or creating a more appealing workplace.
We have seen the power of experience through the success of organisations that place a high importance on it. In the consumer space, companies such as Apple and Google have thrived by creating a better experience than their competitors, while in the workplace the likes of Box have disrupted traditional vendors by prioritising UX.
For a growing number of organisations, recognising the importance of experience is followed by one question: how do I do it? It is in response to this fundamental query that the book ‘UX Lifecycle: The Business Guide to Creating Great Software User Experiences’ has been written by CIC Principle Analyst Clive Howard.
Unlike many UX books this is not aimed at practitioners, but at business leaders and decision-makers who can influence or implement UX programs within their organisations. The book covers what UX is and what is required to deliver it in terms of skills and process. It looks at both the investment required and the benefits that can be realised. The beauty of properly-applied UX is that it should always be able to demonstrate a solid return on investment (ROI).
Defining UX can be challenging as it is often misunderstood. For many people UX is the visual design of an application. For those that see it this way the solution is simply to acquire design resource that is often applied towards the end of the application development process. But the reality is that UX is more about research than it is visual design.
Research is critical and there are other skills that make up a multi-discipline UX capability. Delivering UX is a series of steps interwoven through the process of defining, creating, deploying and measuring an application; a process that repeats itself in an effort to further optimise the experience and so drive increasing value.
A key benefit of the UX Lifecycle approach is that it supports delivering UX at scale: for example, in organisations developing large, complex and multiple applications that target different platforms (desktop, web, mobile). Typically, UX has been delivered via small teams focused on a single project and scaling the capability can be challenging.
Based on the content of the book and many years of UX research, CIC has created a UX Workshop. The workshop will help businesses to recognise where they can derive value from UX; build support from key stakeholders; identify a good starting point; and learn the advantages of beginning small and then growing as the business sees the benefits. Perhaps most importantly it articulates how one stakeholder group is more important than any others – the users.