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What is User Experience (UX) February 4th, 2013

That depends; I’ll cover why later. For now lets reframe the question. Instead lets ask, how (as a business) will we benefit from focusing on who our customers are and what they expect when turning to us for help, knowledge or service?

Ultimately we are asking - how can we do the right thing?

Focusing on what customers want need and expect form you has the following benefits for your business or particular endeavour.

  • Increased revenues, by identifying and resolving obstacles to conversion. Where a conversion is anything from purchasing a product, registering for a service or simplifies downloading a document.
  • Reduces support costs, as you’ve delivered a simple service that’s self-evident and works as your customers expect.
  • Allows for a premium price, as your superior service and simplicity of use outweigh the higher price.
  • Reduces cost because you are only developing features customers want and need.
  • Detect and fix usability early having frequently reviewed design decisions so identified and resolved challenges that would later prove costly to resolve.
  • Reduces failure from not understanding requirements or worst still selecting unsuitable technologies unable to deliver the most suitable solution.
  • Minimises documentation, by tying design decisions back to user needs we are already preparing many of the user stories that later become part of a product backlog or functional requirements document.

This list makes the case for engaging in a UX research phase to help keep projects on track and within budget and delivery schedules. Taking direction and basing design and functional decisions on customer demands can go a long way to make project teams and stakeholder look good.

On a personal level looking good, having delivered high quality successful services is a sure way of getting noticed for the right reasons.

On a broader scale, these exact same successes deliver value to shareholders and investors alike. They’ll directly benefit from the positive result of meeting customer needs through.

  • Increase in market share through positive recommendations and word of mouth promotion.
  • Increases in repeat custom from existing customers, it widely acknowledged that repeat customers have far lower acquisition costs than new.
  • Improves shareholder value through higher brand ratings from being recognised as a leader in your field.
  • Delivers unrepeatable differentiation by delivering unique market leading services that are often impossible to recreate as the customer experience is technology agnostic and can’t be bought.

These outcomes I would hope would persuade even the most adamant of stakeholder or product managers that listening to what your customers need is worth entertaining. But how do we start to understand what our customers want us to be?

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