Listen to the Users
The user experience is a primary driver in the development of the AMCS Platform. We want users to be excited and delighted, using our solutions.
We want to build the right thing at the right time the right way.
Building the right thing means creating the features we want. Most importantly, it is about developing features and processes that the users need, ones that will add value for the customer, which requires putting the user first in our design process.
Building at the right time signifies making the right decisions about which features to do now and prioritizing our Product Roadmap to support our customers' needs. Therefore, we focus on the priority items that will add the most value to the customer right now. We try to think like the user, listening to our user groups (through initiatives like User Validation Programme, email us to register or learn more), analyzing user persona needs, creating and validating new features.
Building the right way involves finding the best designs from myriad possibilities. All of these factors involve listening to different groups – from the user to the customer and to the general marketplace. Then we apply the science/art/creative process of UX to construct a design that provides the best user experience.
Right time and the right place – are central to our process. This relies heavily on the understanding of the customers’ business rules and procedures. It allows us to make the correct assumptions to automatically fill in information on a screen or calculate a field as a convenience to the users.
Interaction design is another principle used to properly design the best methods for the user to interact with the data on the screen - should we use one control over another, a tree versus a list for example?
At this point, we can start development with confidence that we have listened to key groups and are building solutions that the market is eager to purchase and use. According to research done by the Design Management institute in a 2015 study they found that design-driven companies outperform their competitors by as much as 219% over the previous 10 years.
 Source: National Endowment for the Arts: Report on the influence of industrial design on the US economy, 2014
Pool of UX Methods and Techniques Currently Used
The process employed by AMCS UX Design team involves many techniques, depending on the complexity and importance of the feature.
Core methods and Techniques used most often are:
- Value Proposition: Helps the team create consensus around what the product will be
- Heuristic Evaluation: Heuristic Evaluation is a detailed analysis of a product that highlights good and bad design practices in existing products. This is especially useful when legacy products are being considered for deprecation.
- Brainstorming: Is used as a method to generate ideas and solve problems. Brainstorming allows us to visualize a broad range of design solutions before deciding which one to stick with. We have several regular weekly sessions with the UX team itself and often with a broader range of experts.
- Task Analysis: A study of the actions required to complete a given task. Task Analysis is helpful when designers and developers try to understand the current W&R process and its information flows.
- Usability Testing: Is the observation of users trying to carry out tasks with a product. Testing can be focused on a single process or be much more wide ranging. This is the primary purpose of the Userlytics tool currently.
- Concept Testing: A UX researcher shares an approximation of a product that captures the key essence (the Value Proposition) of a new concept to determine if it meets the needs of the target audience. This is also part of the purpose of the Userlytics user Validation program
- Wireframes and prototypes: Creation of a basic framework to follow, proceeded by more detailed look at the visual attributes of your design, prototypes usually include the first user interaction.
Additional Methods and Techniques used as required are:
- Competitive Audit: Competitive Audit is a comprehensive analysis of competitor products that maps out their existing features in a comparable way. We often used our classic products as well.
- Stakeholder Interviews: The interviews allow UX designers to step into the shoes of their interviewees and see your role through the eyes of these stakeholders. It also helps prioritize features and define key performance indicators (KPIs).
- User Interviews: A user interview is a common user research technique used typically to get qualitative information from existing users. We do this to validate our requirements before starting the prototyping process. It reduces UX design time. Currently this is done for the more complex feature projects.
- Card Sorting: is a UX design method used to help design or evaluate the information architecture of a product. UX designer asks users to group content and functionalities into open or closed categories. The result gives UX designer input on content hierarchy, organization, and flow.
- A/B Testing: A/B testing is offering alternative versions of a product to different users and comparing the results to find out which one performs better.
- Guerrilla Testing: Guerrilla testing is one of the simplest forms of user testing. It usually means a simple online meeting to ask users about our product or prototype.
- SWOT Analysis: Sometimes we will use SWOT to present various UX design methods for assessing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that impact the user experience of a product.
- Accessibility Analysis: A study to measure whether the screens can be used by everyone, including users with special needs. It should follow the W3C guidelines to make sure that all users are satisfied.
Now let’s show how the design process has impacted our solutions, with some current examples of how we have re-imagined the design of the user interface on some of our customers’ most critical processes.
Billing is a core process that we have re-developed fully using the Web based interface -
In this example we were dealing with a legacy process that was manual, counter intuitive, required users to follow a list of manual steps, done in sequence that were prone to steps being skipped, making it very difficult to figure out the right process design.
From a combination of user interviews, prototyping, and testing techniques we developed user based (and subsequently validated) designs to create a much more natural, consistent and automatic billing process.
Thus, it would be easy to configure and even easier to repeat next time. Adding data analytics to the process gave real time insight. We wanted to make the process safe, easy to correct and easy to work with while dealing with large amounts of data. We focused on exception-based filters and analytics to help the users validate their billing quickly and as much as possible, validate it for themselves.
Price Change Dashboard
Again, with the price change process we listened to the users. We revamped the overall visual design providing convenient ways for users to see price exceptions easily. Also, we added a feature to show which customers were below or above target profit margins, highlighting exceptions based on business rules..
Service Order from Mobile Devices
In this example, we minimized the number of steps, to automate more of the process, by removing information only fields. All of this was done after collaborating with the users, presenting prototypes and concepts, employing user testing techniques and refining further.
We have a large number of domain experts in our organization who can bring great insights to the design and development process. Many of them were former users in our customer base. We also understand the importance of staying current with new and evolving processes and workflows. Listening and collaborating with our users, means that our preconceived notions don’t become obsolete quickly.
The UX strategy is to listen to the users and innovate for improvements. We are always approaching every new project in the roadmap with the goals of eliminating screens and creating exception-based dashboard reporting that provide critical insights that users need to act upon. Automate the data collection and tell the users what they need to know in well-designed dashboards with powerful tools to act up on the exceptions shown.
To accomplish this, we must listen to the users and their challenges, understanding their processes more intimately, with the goal always of building the right thing at the right time the right way.
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