Your stakeholders are on board. You have your development team scheduled and ready to go. You’ve drafted requirements based on what your company says is needed. But you still have that nagging feeling that you are missing something. Something obvious.
What about your users?
Will they use it… will they like it?
How can you know for sure?
Project managers and product owners all wonder the same thing. You have talked endlessly with your development team on how to implement but what about the most important team member of all, your user?
UX planning can help to ensure when you enter the development phase, your team is poised for success.
5 things to ensure that when a project launches it, and you, will be a success.
- Define what success is- Determining what success looks like early on will help scope your project and keep your team focused on the end goal. Knowing ahead of time how you are going to measure success will help you answer the questions you will get from your boss on how that really expensive project did after it launched.
- Talk with your users- Email them, call them up, knock on their door. Whatever it takes to get a live person’s feedback is critical to success. Do you know all the different types of users you have? You may uncover a completely new set of users you never considered or a use case you never knew existed. There is a gold mine out there just waiting for you to dig into. Uncovering the nuggets of information from your users are key to the success of the project. You may learn that what you thought your users wanted isn’t really what they want at all.
- Share the knowledge. Strategize- Don’t keep all of that new found information in your head, share it with your team, your boss, your CEO. Be a champion for your users. All of that new insight you learned from your users now needs to be turned into a project strategy.
- Don’t move into development too early. Talk to your users, again- You may think you know what is exactly needed after all the discussions you had with users and your internal teams. You can see it in your head. But will your users see it the same way? Don’t know? Ask them. Sketch your idea out. Wireframe it. Prototype it. Get it in from of your users in a format they will understand and ask them. You could do one on one sessions, surveys or other great usability testing methods, like click tests, etc.
A quote that comes to mind:
“Once a system is in development, correcting a problem costs 10 times as much as fixing the same problem in design. If the system had been released, it costs 100 times as much relative to fixing in design.”
Source: Gilb, T. (1988) Principles of Software Engineering Management . Addison Wesley, Reading, MA.
- Move into development with confidence- By now you should be feeling good. You’ve learned a ton from your users. You’ve turned that into outstanding requirements for the development team. You now have a clear understanding what your product will be and do for your users at launch. If you don’t feel that way yet (and it’s ok if you don’t), repeat the steps above. Keep those lines of communication open with your users.
Project success. You're a winner!
With the steps above you will look like a genius to your bosses.
- You avoided wasted development time on untested ideas.
- You correctly set priorities based on wins with the user and the business.
- Your call center will thank you because they are getting happy calls (or no calls at all) vs unhappy calls.
- Conversion will go up because you tested that workflow and knew it would work.
- Your users are returning again and again because your application is so easy to use.
Keeping those lines of communication open with your users is important. They will make or break your product or application. They will make you look like a genius if you listen to them.