A poor user experience can have a number of negative consequences for a company, not the least of which is lost sales. Prioritizing UX in app development is key to ensuring customer satisfaction, usability, and much more. Business leaders can prioritize UX with these steps.
A recent study found that 60% of consumers abandon their purchases due to poor website user experience. That amounts to a loss of five purchases a year per customer for e-commerce companies. Though many businesses have worked to improve their UX for web applications by making them more responsive and easier to navigate for consumers, when it comes to standalone apps, most are still missing the UX boat.
Understanding why UX matters is particularly crucial at this point in time, as more and more companies develop new applications that take advantage of the latest advances in AI. A positive UX is crucial for the adoption and success of these applications.
Why Is UX Important?
A well-designed UX does more than provide a pleasant experience for the consumer (although that’s critical, too). A good UX can also enhance efficiency and productivity. By understanding user workflows, pain points, and preferences, developers can optimize an application’s interface, interactions, and information architecture. This results in streamlined processes, reduced learning curves, and increased productivity for users, all of which ultimately benefit a company’s operations.
A poorly designed UX, meanwhile, can increase the likelihood of user errors and risks — especially with AI applications. Confusing interfaces, a lack of clear instructions, or ambiguous feedback can lead to user frustration, mistakes, and other unintended consequences. Considering the user’s experience helps identify and address usability issues early on, minimizing errors, reducing risks, and ensuring the safe and effective use of an app.
When it comes to AI specifically, how a UX is designed can even have ethical implications. User-centric design principles can help mitigate biases, ensure explainability, and uphold user privacy and data protection, fostering trust between a company and its users.
In all, prioritizing UX in app development improves the app at nearly every level and provides a business with a serious competitive advantage. And yet, if there are all these advantages, why do so few organizations and developers take UX seriously?
Why Does UX Often Take a Backseat?
During the development of a new application, the complexities of the backend tend to take precedence over UX design. There are a number of reasons for this. Many companies prioritize business objectives, cost reduction, or technical capabilities over the needs and preferences of end users. They might also face tight timelines or resource limitations during development, causing organizations to prioritize functionality and speed over UX considerations. While these are all understandable excuses, they still result in neglected UX design, which leads to frustration, confusion, and reduced user satisfaction.
In the case of AI applications, companies tend to focus primarily on the technical aspects of AI development — such as algorithms, data processing, and model training — without giving equal attention to UX. As a result, the user interface, interaction design, and overall usability all take a backseat to technical considerations.
More often than not, the thinking is that the AI itself will take care of the UX. It’s a thought process that overestimates the capability of AI and underestimates the importance of user involvement in development. Without involving users in the design and testing process, companies risk developing solutions that don’t align with user expectations, needs, or workflows. No amount of advanced AI can remedy that.
To ensure the success of a new application, it’s crucial for backend developers to collaborate with UX and user interface designers and usability experts. By focusing on usability, enterprises can create AI applications that are intuitive, user-friendly, and capable of delivering a positive UX.
How to Improve UX as a Company Leader
So, how can company leaders ensure that this focus is present in the development process? It can be easier said than done, especially in businesses that might be a little stuck in their ways. Luckily, there are some steps you can take as an executive to shake things up and come out with a better product in the end:
- Establish a user-centric culture.
Foster a culture where developers, designers, and stakeholders work together to understand user needs, preferences, and pain points. To do this, invest in training programs and resources that enhance developers’ understanding of UX principles and methodologies. You should also emphasize UX’s role in achieving business objectives and improving customer satisfaction so that people understand the “why” of UX as much as the “how.”
- Involve users from the start.
A user-centric approach means ensuring that users are active participants in every stage of product development. Encourage developers to engage in user research activities, such as surveys, usability testing, and interviews, to gather insights directly from target users. You can also create channels to collect and incorporate user feedback throughout the development process, ensuring continuous improvement based on user insights.
- Collaborate with UX and UI designers.
Designers need to be a part of the development team from day one. Involving UX and UI designers early in the development process allows developers to collaborate closely with them and ensure a cohesive UX from start to finish. To ensure this is actually happening, facilitate collaborative sessions between developers and designers, where they can iterate on designs, review prototypes, and address usability concerns together.
- Set UX-driven goals and metrics.
Don’t assume your interface is user-friendly; make sure it is. Clearly articulate your desired UX outcomes and set specific UX goals aligned with your business objectives. To measure the effectiveness and usability of your app, define key performance indicators that you can track. A few examples of these are task completion rates, user satisfaction scores, and usability testing results.
- Perform usability testing and iterative design.
Incorporate usability testing at different stages of the development process to identify pain points and validate design decisions via user feedback. Encourage developers to iterate on your app’s design and functionality based on that feedback. This will ensure that your users’ needs are regularly being addressed.
While it might seem simpler to tackle the backend of a product first and worry about UX later, the truth is that a seamless UX directly correlates to user adoption and satisfaction. This, in turn, directly impacts the success and profitability of an application. If you want to truly make a mark with your new application, it’s time to make UX an equal priority.
Written by Damian Mingle.
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