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User Research Helping to Improve the Software UI Design

Software development and deployment can be quite a challenge. Therefore, due to the complicated nature of these processes, critical things may be often overlooked. One of such omissions that the vendors often encounter is, when release, newly built application is not sufficiently integrating user research into the product.

The common situation often looks like the following: the vendor performs user research however the conclusions made based on this investigation are assigned with the low priority status and, therefore, improvements derived from the research results are deposited in the product backlog since the developers are lacking understanding how to incorporate these advances into the actual product. Since software design is usually considered something secondary and optional, as long as technical elements of software development are prioritized, such design improvements will always remain underestimated.

Still, the companies are inclined to focus more on user research when it’s the effect on business indicators is obvious. When user research is associated with good product management and business purposes, it has bigger value since it can facilitate software development improvement and help in making correct conclusions.

It is quite easy to see the relation between user research and design. When the vendor is practicing Agile, user-centric development methodology based on constant delivery principles, the importance of this product management approach amplifies as the companies have to get their own insights on what design is anticipated by the customers, instead of outsourcing these studies from a contract organization.

Indeed, software product managers are those persons whose key task is to equilibrate the user anticipations and vendor’s potential in quality design delivery. As soon as this goal is reached, they have to continue working in tight collaboration with development teams to create the product complying with set visual and technical specifications.

Therefore, it is possible to come up with a conclusion that product management is an integral component to establish a robust connection between user research and design.

There is one more subtype of a problem when the vendor neglects user research: it also might happen that the company collects user aspiration data but disregards it completely. For example, software production startup can employ contract research organization and, thus, get valuable metrics. However, if this data is not distributed among vendor’s teams and departments, it’s monkey business.

But if the user research is closely associated with the development team, those conclusions and metrics will be effectively incorporated by the product. Furthermore, since software development is a closed-loop cycle, it can generate questions that have to be asked and solved by using user research.

In fact, if utilized correctly, the insights and paradigms derived from the user research amalgamate with the decision-making system of the enterprise. Specifically, the software design prototypes, drafted based on customer anticipations, become those landmarks supporting the entire complex of application development works.

Some businesses avoid deployment of user research practices to enhance product design features via optimization and transformation because they think that it may take too much time to accomplish. Nevertheless, this is a common misapprehension: two or three weeks of interaction with the clients usually are enough to get a full picture of how the application has to look like to match customer requirements.

Still, the factor of timing should not be underestimated: although user research duration is not so crucial, the delay between the moment when actual study results are obtained and moment of incorporation in the product is extremely important. Only freshly baked insights can be useful for application design improvement as client’s opinion may be also changeable.

Therefore, it is recommended to create working prototypes based on received insights immediately when the degree of synchronization between the clients and the development teams is at its highest point. By doing so, you’ll mitigate the risk of discrepancies between the product desired and the one delivered, and consequently, avoid the burden of software reprocessing and pricey alterations.

If you are interested in design and user experience development, in HUSPI we would be excited to help via cutting-edge digital solutions delivery.

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