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Fail fast & early part 2: Harnessing the power of failing

  • Geplaatst op donderdag 15 april 2021

Discover how an UX design team is failing on their own terms, with minimum risk and high reward. Failing is a huge part of the design process and helps us to develop even better products. From sketching and building a prototype to a lot of testing along the way.

The UX design team at Avanade specializes in researching business needs and creating interfaces to users' specific needs. As a result they are more efficient in their work and websites are more profitable. Our designers' process is one of falling and getting back up to iterate towards a perfect solution. Against popular belief, we need to put in the work too.

Failing, criticism and learning are necessary steps for us, as I explained in my previous blog. The secret is that we fail on our terms, with minimum risk and high reward. How do we do that? It's pretty simple; we fail as early as possible using UX research and design prototypes. In that way we are uncovering pain points that would otherwise surface after product launch, and are vastly more expensive to solve at this point.

Using UX research to minimize risk

You've probably heard of UX design, but what you may not know is that the process of UX design consists roughly of two parts: research & design. I know our reputation for creating awesome visual designs, but we need data as a solid base for our design decisions. UX researcher s have the task to understand the client, its end-user, and weed out the first layer of assumptions that might have caused us to fall flat on our face if not uncovered and solved in an early stage.

They do so by:

  • Performing qualitative research (focus on users)
  • Quantitative research (focus on data)
  • Expert reviews
  • Solution analysis
  • Preliminary usability testing
  • UX workshops & design thinking with stakeholders

These tasks are a vital part of the UX process as a whole, but also great as separate entities with a strategic advantage as well. Within any software project, researching end-users and working with stakeholders give fantastic insights in the end-user needs and how to get the most out of a software solution, website, or (power)app. With research data we can devise a roadmap that allows us to stay involved after the initial product launch as a strategic partner.

Sketch, test, repeat

When we work on actual designs, we are initially working towards a prototype. A first-try design is rarely final and needs iteration to become something special. No one has designed an amazing product in a single attempt. This methodology is not something we invented; it has been around for some time and was introduced through the book ‘the design of everyday things' by Donald Norman 1988, and inspired bestsellers like ‘the lean startup’. We test these prototypes with 'guided user testing' before a single line of code is written. Building on the results of early findings, we can quickly implement these valuable lessons in a better prototype and validate with our users.

While this approach seems costly upfront, it is proven that investing this small extra amount of time in the design phase results in an incredible increase in successful product launches. Users feel listened to, and have a higher willingness to adopt a new workflow or product. Development is more efficient, ultimately resulting in happy users and clients.

Just embrace falling

We want to deliver with excellence. That is a pretty bold statement, and it is on us to deliver. Even if it means that sometimes we have to stumble or fall, so our clients don't have to. When we create user interfaces that involve intricate and complex decisions, user-centricity needs to be at our core. UX design is about figuring out user needs, learning and growing, and ultimately designing the perfect solution with confidence and effectiveness.

Embrace failing and use the lessons to develop better products, but be smart about it. We've learned to minimize risks and maximize results so our clients can focus on growing their business and moving forward with an excellent product. Whether a client needs an existing solution or a tailored one, UX research is the perfect place to start the journey by uncovering user and business needs. For tailored work, UX design is the perfect way to shape the solution. And for realization we have the most experienced and talented software developers to bring it all to life.

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