Software is supposed to solve a problem. Whether it’s simplifying tasks that humans struggle with or just streamlining the workflow process, companies spend money on software in order to make their day-to-day operations run smoother. But for this to occur, the development company has to focus on the end users’ needs and wants. And that’s where good UX design comes into play.
Why is good UX design important? The reasons are endless. However, we’ll discuss 9 of the most important reasons here. Keep reading to find out what they are.
What is UX Design?
Before we dive too deeply into UX design, it’s important to understand what it is. It’s become something of a buzzword in the industry over the last few years, but a quick breakdown could be helpful.
UX stands for “user experience.” UX design is the process of developing a product, whether it be a website, software program, or device with the end users’ experiences in mind. With that description, good UX design sounds like a no-brainer, but it takes an experienced team of developers and designers to make it happen.
There are decision trees and formulas that developers use to ensure they’re implementing good UX design, but that’s far beyond the scope of this article. At the core, the development team considers who the user is, what their challenges are, and how the software can solve those challenges in the easiest and most efficient ways possible.
UX designers use market research, product development, strategy, design, and lots of testing to ensure they’re creating a product that is attractive, effective, efficient, and easy to use. That’s good user experience design in a nutshell.
This isn’t wildly different from the construction design process. Engineers, designers, and architects constantly consider how the buildings and infrastructure they create will impact the people using them during the design process.
9 Reasons Why Good UX Design is Important in Software
It might be easy to understand that good UX design is important, but all of the ways it can impact the end user might not be so obvious. The following are 9 reasons why good UX design is important when choosing a software program.
It Leaves a Lasting Impression: Good and Bad
UI (user interface) gives the user their first impression, but UX creates a lasting impression. How smoothly a software program runs, offers intuitive workflows, and allows the user to find the solutions, data, or reports they’re looking for will create an opinion of that program for the user. If the UX is subpar, even if only at the start, users will feel frustrated over just the thought of the software.
However, if that software is fast, intuitive, and provides answers without digging through multiple tabs in error, the user will remember it. They’ll have a much more favorable opinion of the program and rather than feeling dread when they log in, they’ll feel positive that they’re going to achieve their goals.
It Provides Value
Good UX design is not a mistake. It’s the result of a development team focusing its efforts on developing exactly the type of software that the user needs. This means the team won’t be spending time or energy developing aspects of the program the user really can’t use.
In the end, this streamlined and targeted development approach means less wasted resources, and this means a more affordable product for the end user. They’ll be able to get more value from the program because it was designed to solve their specific challenges and nothing else.
It Makes Learning Easier
Regardless of the software program, there is always a learning curve or implementation period where users have to get used to the new processes. Whether it’s the layout, workflow, or integration with other software programs, users need to learn how the new system works and deal with the bumps in the road.
Good UX design can pave those bumps and make learning the new system much easier. With a well-planned layout, intuitive workflows, and the ability to make adjustments that scale across multiple reports automatically, using the program can become like second nature.
It Ensures the Program Will Fit the Users’ Needs
Good UX design involves developing “personas,” or creating a fictionalized version of the ideal real-world user, and developing the software for that persona. Developers will take into account all of the user’s daily activities and responsibilities and the challenges that those activities and responsibilities create, and come up with a tailored solution.
In terms of construction, this ensures that the software meets the needs of the people in the building industry. An effective UX design will account for the project types, contract types, personnel, reports, and accounting that the construction industry uses. There are no useless functions or fluff to deal with.
It Encourages Widespread Adoption of the Software
It’s one thing to decide to implement new software and another thing to actually get everyone on board. While there are always a few folks that will resist change, a good UX design can help pry those old spreadsheets from their desperate clutches.
When a program is designed well and works as it should, the team will notice. Folks will start to show each other how certain functions are saving them time and frustration over the old program. And while a program champion must still learn the software and introduce it to the team, a good user experience can make implementation effortless.
It Reduces Reliance on Customer Support
How often do we get frustrated with a program, app, report, or input point and have to call customer support, only to realize the solution was simple? It was just a toggle buried in five layers of user settings. If we’re all being honest, the answer is “too often.”
While great customer support and service are critical to any software program, good UX design minimizes the users’ need to lean on it. By using simple, easy-to-adjust settings and input points, well-designed programs allow users to understand what they’re doing, make adjustments, and see an impact instantly. If something doesn’t seem right in a report, they should be able to access that report immediately and fix the issue without digging through tab after tab to get there.
It Helps Users Serve Their Customers Better
When a company decides to implement new software, the goal should be to simplify processes in order to run smoother and more efficiently. It can change the way the company handles almost all of its most important office work. And you better believe this transfers to the customer.
When a customer, partner, or lender calls a well-run construction company and requests an update, the latest report, a change order, or just clarification, good UX design really shines. A company rep should be able to log in, access the account, and pull that report or make that change in seconds. And if they’re using a program that simplifies data entry and provides automatic updates, they know all of those changes will be reflected across the program.
Not only does this mean serving the customer faster, but it also means providing them with accurate data. Good UX design lessens the chances of mistakes and oversights, and this makes it one of the most important aspects to look for in a software program.
It Promotes Communication
No one understands the importance of communication better than a well-oiled development team, and this often trickles down to the software. Good UX design involves creating channels and avenues that teams can use to talk to each other, work on the same project, and simplify communication.
In many cases, this means using cloud technology to ensure everyone has access to the same data at once. Any changes they make can be sent automatically to the folks who need to know about them, as well. This type of communication promotes collaboration and responsibility—all because the software was designed to do it.
It Directly Impacts Profitability
At the end of the day, any new tools or software that a company implements should improve its profitability. Good UX design, with its focus on efficiency and automation, can do just that.
With less time spent on data entry, updating reports, fixing mistakes, and tracking down signatures, office staff can focus their creative efforts on other projects. Those projects can then help the company move forward, improve its efficiency, and make better decisions. Only a software program created with great user experience design can offer the type of freedom a team needs to work like that.
Tom Scalisi has over 15 years of experience working in the trades. Since moving to full-time freelance writing, he has developed a passion for helping construction companies grow. He enjoys teaching contractors how technology can streamline their businesses and educating them about their rights during payment disputes.