4 tips to systematically improve your user experience design

ux design
Focusing on technology limits your potential for success from the start. Instead, focus on the ideal outcome that defines success.

Facing massive technological complexity and limited viable solutions, many businesses are forced to make a choice between form and function in their digital presence.

A recent Frost & Sullivan global study of senior executives found that over 80% believe customer experience is an essential part of their business strategy to maintain competitive advantage. However, it’s not easy to create amazing digital customer interfaces. More often than not, the end-results are disjointed customer and employee experiences, a lack of reuse that hinders agility and innovation, and ongoing maintenance headaches.

Expectations have changed – end users want a seamless, intuitive experience

Gone are the days when customers and employees compare your brand’s experience to direct competitors. Now your brand, and even your internal applications, are compared to the experiences delivered by giants like Apple and Amazon.

These brands are raising the bar in end user experience. However, while industries and products may differ, developers across the board face the same problems when building seamless digital customer experiences. Problems can manifest around technology and culture – oftentimes, both! Breaking down silos around legacy tools in order to build seamless end-user experiences is no small task, and changing an enterprise mindset to focus on experiences over features can feel like an exercise in futility.

Here are four tips to help you systematically improve your user experience design

Pega has engaged organizations around the world in every industry to understand their approaches to delivering engaging user experiences. From our research, we’ve identified four tips to systematically improve the form and function of your user experience:

  • Agree on what defines success – Can your organization define outcomes without mentioning technology? Let’s say you want to improve the speed and security of users when they login to your application. More often than not, we’ll see success described as, ‘Implement two-factor authentication” rather than, “Decrease the time users need to reset their password.” Perhaps two-factor authentication is part of the solution, perhaps not.

    Focusing on technology limits your potential for success from the start. Instead, focus on the ideal outcome that defines success.

  • Embrace a hybrid approach to technology – Too often, technology limitations force developers to hard-code business logic into each individual channel. This is further compounded by the ever-growing stack of open and proprietary front-end technologies. The end result is an array of technological silos that make it a challenging to create consistently superior experiences across all your digital channels.

    Learn to embrace a hybrid approach to open source and proprietary software. Leverage open architecture software so you can use your preferred front-end technologies, such as React and Angular, to design beautiful UI while taking advantage of powerful digital process automation on the back end.

  • Build a design system - A design system offers a library of visual style and components, documented and released as code and a design tool. It builds a common language for an organization around design and development that results in more constructive workflows for developers and enterprise-wide consistency.

    Design systems take advantage of modern design principles like Atomic Design, allowing your organization to break down components into small, reusable building blocks that can be used to achieve a sense of harmony throughout your brand. As your system continues to mature and your components become tried and tested, you will continually build better, faster, and more uniformly.

  • Use design thinking methods – Every major company is engaged in digital transformation. However, progress and maturity varies greatly as you grapple with legacy processes, technology, and culture. Approaches vary, but in general, design thinking is a methodology used for defining the correct problem before expensive investments are made, while aligning groups around core business goals and customer needs.

    The best approach starts with a structured design thinking workshop that brings together business and IT leaders from your enterprise to identify key challenges and define the right problem to tackle first. Once you’ve got everyone in agreement to what you want to achieve and the end user experience you want to provide, break down deliverables into short, actionable, and attainable sprints – creating an agile process for user experience design and development.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anthony Abdulla (@AnthonyAbdulla) is a director of product marketing for mobility & UX at Pegasystems, and has been building brands and launching successful products for over 15 years. Throughout his career, Anthony has helped clients improve customer engagement and operational efficiencies through digital transformation.