What makes a software upgrade successful?
Imagine an office with almost a hundred people in it. They are working in front of their terminals, all running the same custom software application.
In one of my first software engineering projects I was part of the team who carried out a complete software overhaul of that system. The upgraded version was way faster, incredibly efficient. So, guess what happened when it was deployed?
Our users hated the new interface. Because of this, they weren’t happy with the upgraded system at all.
Yes, human beings may be reluctant to changes – especially when changes bring a new learning curve. But it’s true that all the resources of that software project were invested in creating a flawless back-end. Even when the new interface was just correct, the user experience design of the whole project had been just an afterthought.
Eventually, we worked together with our final users, and we tailored the interface to improve their user experience. And only then, the underlying upgrade shone as it deserved, increasing the productivity and the bottom line of that company.
Developing with my clients in mind
I felt it was pretty insightful to learn about the importance of UX design during the early stages of my career, because it allowed me to give it the attention it deserved. So after obtaining my software engineering degree, I continued getting the right skillset that would also allow me to deliver satisfactory user experiences.
From that point on, I didn’t just get used to code the technical part of the software: I also got used to talking directly to clients and final users, understanding their business goals, their preconceptions and their expectations, and keeping that in mind during the whole software development process.
For me, a software solution is only successful when, on top of working as it is supposed to do, it’s also a pleasure to use. And that’s the beauty of user experience.
User experience optimization may look like guesswork, but it’s more like science. It isn’t just a design that looks good. It’s even more than reading about basic design principles, or psychological approaches, and making your optimization bet. It’s essentially a data-driven optimization process, where stats, analytics, and A/B tests allow you to identify what to improve, and to select those approaches that actually work.
Do your users enjoy using your applications? Do you think your websites aren’t converting as they deserve? Could your custom software improve your productivity? If you need to improve your software solution with an optimized user experience, don’t hesitate to get in touch.