Creating a positive user experience entails a coordinated effort addressing multiple objectives. Let’s talk about what’s involved in the Caktus team’s approach to delivering the ultimate user experience.
First, it's important to clarify that “user experience” is not just another word for “user interface.” The user interface is the sum of the screens, buttons, and icons that allow the user to navigate a system. Those elements must all be well designed, but there’s much more to an app than that.
User experience is a holistic term for all the layers and complexities of a user’s interaction with the system — accounting for the user’s needs and goals; demographic, psychological, and behavioral characteristics; and much more.
Designing the ultimate user-friendly web app, mobile app, or website begins with addressing such fundamental questions as:
- Who will use the system?
- What do they want to achieve with it?
- How do they typically accomplish their tasks?
- What pain points must be resolved?
Our experience at Caktus has taught us that the best way to answer these questions and address the challenges involved with creating an ultimate user experience is through discovery workshops.
A User-Focused Approach
User-centered requirements gathering takes place at the very beginning of a project. It involves convening all the stakeholders, who often have divergent visions or interests, to bring focus to the scope of the project. This can be done either virtually or in person. The initial objectives are to consider key goals and budget, prioritize the most essential features for development, and address any areas lacking clarity.
This process brings everyone to agreement regarding the system’s business and user goals, user workflows and tasks, and the prioritized set of features it will support. We ensure that the most important success criteria remain front of mind.
Requirements gathering involves anticipating potential problems or frustrations. It entails designing systems that are tailored to users’ specific needs and that address their pain points and behavioral characteristics, thereby ensuring customer satisfaction and, ultimately, enhancing return on investment.
Asking the Right Questions
In determining the ideal solution for a given client, we have two techniques we often use: user story mapping and content modeling.
User story mapping is a collaborative process that captures the journey a customer will take in utilizing the product, including tasks and activities. It provides design, coding, user-experience, and testing teams with an understanding of user flows, user tasks, and client priorities, and ensures that key features haven’t been overlooked.
Content modeling provides a precise understanding of what the content will consist of and how best to structure it. Through this process, we explore the needs and goals users bring to the website and analyze how content types best connect with one another.
If the project is to build an interactive web app, user story mapping is used. If it’s to develop a customer-facing, content-rich website, content modeling is employed. And sometimes both are used.
The Optimal Experience
The best candidates for a discovery workshop are projects that are particularly complex, those in which the client is unsure of how to proceed, or in which the target users and key user tasks and flows haven’t been identified.
But it’s never a bad idea to convene a discovery workshop. Knowledge gained informs the design of a user experience in so many ways.
A great example: designing with white space. White space (sometimes called negative space) is the area around and between the elements on a page. Designers recognize it as an essential tool in heightening the comprehension of a composition and guiding the user’s attention and focus.
The ideal user experience can be realized through building a shared understanding of the new product in a practical, hands-on fashion — the collaborative process of a discovery workshop. Utilizing user-centered methods and techniques, we lay a solid foundation before any code is written. Everyone comes out of this exercise with the same expectations.
A Caktus discovery workshop helps ensure that budget and deadline are accounted for and that desired features are given priority — offering the optimal user experience.
To learn more about discovery workshops at Caktus or to speak with our team about participating in a workshop for your project, get in touch.