Ensuring your investments in digital solutions are not wasted

The 5 crucial benefits of user centred design

Jeremy O'Meara
Jeremy O'Meara Posted 29th June 2020
Articles

In a post-COVID-19 world, now more than ever, digital solutions have the potential to transform business. 84% of businesses report an overall increase in productivity as a direct result of incorporating mobile apps into a business.*

“78% of enterprise apps are abandoned after their first use. * “

The key driver to success is adoption. User centred design is crucial to ensure your investment will work for your business: make sure your organisation is not wasting time and money on solutions which won’t deliver the expected benefits.

There are 5 key benefits of user centred design that can result in savings beyond adoption and change management cost making a drastic difference to your business.

So what does this mean in practice?

1. Investing in the right solutions

When looking to create a new product or application, one of the biggest considerations is whether or not we’re spending money on the right solution. Is an existing product suitable? How do we decide!

Including the needs of the user and understanding the problem space thoroughly before developing a solution helps us ensure we’re actually investing in the right solutions for a given problem. There are often multiple competing agendas, and by progressing through a user centred design process, our confidence level and knowledge increases meaning we’ll can narrow our options down and make an informed choice. Experiment early and fail fast – it’s a lot cheaper at the design phase, than once the solution is built.

2. Reduction in development cost

A rule of thumb is that fixing an error after development is up to 100 times more expensive as it would have been before development.

With user centred design, you can reduce waste at the development phase and increase development efficiency. Effective design, employing a user centred approach, can reduce defects and changes after development meaning cost effective changes are made up-front.

We’ve all been involved in projects where the requirements were unclear and the change request process becomes cumbersome. User centred design approaches ensure that users are involved throughout the design and build process so if there are changes they are typically identified early. This way, if required, the solution can be nudged in the right direction as opposed to make drastic and hugely expensive U-Turns mid build. Addressing issues early can make a significant difference in the money spent and reduce the cost of post-launch maintenance and support.

3. Improved adoption & reduced training cost

A well-designed product, employing the user centred design framework, can save money at the adoption phase by reducing training cost and solution complexity, as well as change management.

Change management should not be an afterthought. By engaging users early and recruiting super users who have already helped test and validate the solution, your change management programs will be a lot easier to manage. Whilst there are several considerations and barriers for adoption, excellent user experience is definitely one of the key drivers of adoption and user centred design helps drive this. Investment is only effective if users adopt the solution.

By employing user centred design, the user needs and goals are central to the development of a product, thus ensuring that the product actually fulfills the requirements of the user, leading to likely better uptake of the product.

Bilue recently worked with a client helping them to start their digital journey with a field services mobility solution. The business had deployed IT sponsored solutions previously to a degree of success, however by reframing the problem and employing user-centred design, we were able to deliver a product that simultaneously achieved business goals as well as user needs. Within two weeks of deployment the business had a 100% adoption rate with no additional training required.

4. Improved compliance & reduced risk

In situations where staff may find the tools difficult to use, we see workaround solutions and shadow IT emerging. Workaround solutions may pose risk to security and compliance and result in incomplete or incorrect information.

With user centred solutions, we can design and build more intuitive products that guide the user through any given process more naturally. If the process is guided and well designed, we avoid deviation and improve compliance.

We have recently proven the effects of well designed products on training and adoption. One of our customers invested in building and deploying a Microsoft PowerApp. It was an IT-sponsored solution that centred around data collection for reporting which came at some cost. However Users preferred a combination of paper, an Excel spreadsheet and a third party app instead resulting in a large administration cost when it came to data collation and report preparation.

Taking a user centred design approach, Bilue was able to design, build and deploy a desktop and mobile solution to replace the PowerApp that resulted in 100% adherence to reporting requirements in the first reporting cycle and elimination of >90% of the administration cost.

5. Increased efficiencies & data accuracy

Optimising processes and minimising manual steps can create time savings and improve data quality, enabling your staff to focus on high-value activities such as interacting with customers. How many times as a customer have we heard “sorry, my system is playing up” or “let me take a note and check this one for you with the back office staff”? Empowering front line staff is vital to ensuring the best possible outcome with a customer.

By way of example, we worked with a large retailer to design a mobile solution whose key goal was to maximise face time with customers. By taking a user-centred approach to designing a solution for the retailer, we understood team member’s problems and goals and were able to build a solution that allowed them to get tasks done quickly and in a method that made most sense to them. Enabling tasks to be completed in this fashion, team members were able to spend much less time looking at back office screens and more time on the floor with customers with the additional benefit of a reduction in data entry errors.

Start your journey today

The benefits of user-centred design are many and varied. Upfront investment in applying user centred design can save money in the long run. To gain returns on our investment, organisations need to create solutions which work for the user and deliver business benefits.

At Bilue, we thrive on human connection. By balancing the desires of users, the viability to driving business, with a healthy dose of technical feasibility, our processes have been designed from the ground up to not only define, and design, but to deliver outstanding digital products.

If you’re considering investing in a new digital solution we’d love to hear from you and help ensure you get the best possible outcomes.


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