Our most cherished products and services have the best user experiences. Think about it for a second. What are the products you appreciate the most or talk most positively about to your friends, family, and colleagues? I’m betting whatever products that come to mind have made your life better in a truly meaningful way. It’s no accident that you love this product. The impact was intentionally and carefully crafted by the company using continuous discovery practices.

On the flip side, the companies that have created the most frustrating products you’ve encountered were also very intentionally crafted. Not that they intended for you to have a bad experience or wanted their product to evoke a negative response, they just made very strategic choices based on their business goals that negatively impacted your experience.

There is a clear difference between both companies. One of them is heavily focused on the needs of the business and their technology capabilities, and the other company is focused on making sure to balance business goals with the needs of their customers.

The best UX comes from optimizing the needs of the customer, the abilities of your technology, and the needs of the business

The companies are intentional about crafting meaningful experiences also understand creating it is a cross-functional responsibility. They know it’s important to continuously ask these three questions in order to be successful:

 

Is this product desirable to our customers?

Understanding the desirability of your product or service from your customer’s point of view is where the most successful companies start. They are taking the time required to understand and validate the wants, needs, and desired outcomes of their customers and getting answers to key questions like:

  • How well do we know our customers?
  • Are we solving the right pain point for them?
  • How well does this solution fit into their life/workflow?
  • Does this solution add value to their lives?
  • Will people buy this product?

A lot of these questions can be answered through standard user research techniques and methods like moderated interviews and observational research. But depending on the stage of development you may also need to use specific usability metrics and measurements like task success and the System Usability Scale (SUS).

 

Is this product feasible for us to create and support?

Understanding your current capabilities and continuously evaluating what technology to use is a key factor in a product’s success. Successful companies will continuously ask questions like:

  • What are our tech goals?
  • What are our current capabilities? (people/tech)
  • Can we use the current solutions we have in place?
  • Do we need to create or source new tech?
  • Does this fit within our timelines?

Most of these questions can be answered through facilitated stakeholder interviews, strategic workshop sessions, and ecosystem analysis.

 

Is it a viable business decision to create this product?

At the end of the day, companies need to make sure the product or service they are investing in serves the business’ desired outcomes. In order to reduce the risk associated with the investment, you can define the business model and assess marketing needs by asking questions like these:

  • What are our business goals?
  • What are the value propositions of the product?
  • What is the Minimum Marketable Feature set?
  • Do development and marketing fit our budgets?
  • What is the ROI?

 

Summary

The companies that have figured out how to craft the best user experiences have a harmonious relationship with the needs of the business, the technology, and most importantly, the customers. Although these questions may be only a few of the thousands you will be asking and answering during the course of creating a product or service, they are the most important.

 

What challenges have you experienced with optimizing the needs of the customer, the technology, and the business when crafting a meaningful user experience?

 

Mat Winegarden

Product manager @Handrailux . Sometimes I have ideas...other times I am brilliantly late to the party

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