Why User Experience (UX) Matters
The phrase “user-friendly” has inundated our culture. It’s a catchy term many software companies use to tout their efficient, so-easy-a-novice-could-do-it products. However, not all software is created equally – and consumers know this.
Many times, “user-friendly” is just as redundant as the same places that claim to have “the world’s best cup of coffee” – it’s almost meaningless. Sure, that random hole-in-the-wall café may indeed have the world’s best coffee, but most people won’t even consider trying it. The same goes for software.
All About User Experience
If you want to claim your software as user-friendly, you have to earn it. If you’re wondering how you go about earning your “user-friendly” title, it’s simple. You need to be all about user experience (UX).
UX, as described by ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 9241-11 standard, is “the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a specified context of use.”
“Our customers depend on our commercial loan servicing software to get their job effectively and efficiently done,” said Sherri Carr, assistant vice president – Commercial Servicer development at FICS®. “They use our software daily, and if we don’t provide a good user experience, it hampers our customers’ ability to run their operations smoothly.”
If you provide software to clients, part of UX is continually updating your products.
“FICS has an established policy towards product enhancement and improvement,” said Billy Buckelew, technical support manager at FICS. “Our policy is to have quarterly releases which can contain a combination of regulatory changes, enhancements and bug fixes. That’s a fairly aggressive policy when you consider the size of our systems and the number of systems we have in our suite of products. We try and stay engaged with our customers. In addition, every year we survey our customers and select a certain number of enhancement requests to be added to our systems. We also put forth a lot of effort in supporting the latest operating systems and technology as the world of Information Technology is constantly changing and evolving. Last but not least, FICS is a customer service-driven company. You can have an exceptional product but if your customer service is terrible, that greatly reduces the UX and image of your product and company.”
If your company is looking to iron out the wrinkles in its UX, there are a few things you can do.
“First and foremost, listen to the customers, determine what their needs are and stay in tune with them,” Buckelew said. “Your customers and the industry help shape your product. It is also important to have a knowledgeable and experienced staff that knows how to communicate effectively.”
To recap, UX matters because it makes your software easy to use, it helps your customers get their jobs done effectively and efficiently and, most importantly, it keeps your customers happy. In the end, if your customers are happy, you’ve done your job.