Tuesday, March 26, 2013

UX as Key Factor in Process Design

To ensure UX address appropriately in process design, well align your design talent with the process, and test, refine design, test, refine the design.

It’s very important to consider user experience (UX) in the designing process. However, sometimes UX is addressed either superficially (“this screen needs to match our corporate color scheme”), or not at all. Alternatively, sometimes a customer will be so devoted to UX that they'll hire web UX consultants, who will design lovely, clever screens that—oops!—turn out to be difficult to replicate using the form builder. So, how to ensure that UX (User Experience) is addressed appropriately when designing processes?

  1. First is ensuring users are involved in the design with no limitations in thinking. This will be a novel experience for them with decades of ”IT” imposed "solutions" as either COTS or custom coded. However, when within days they see their ideas coming to life, users will quickly take ownership; feel empowered and confident about future changes.  
  1. The second has to be with the user interfaces that are easy to use. Appropriate model transformations and quick prototyping facilities grant that business-level designs are always aligned with user interaction designs that implement them. This grants impressive advantages in terms of speed of delivering the solutions, as well as ease of understanding and usage by customers.     
  2. Information architects are at the table with the process design ones, when doing requirements elicitation and specification with the END-user. Design Thinking and Service Design are the approaches to take this larger perspective. The user experience of a process is not only the BPMS application. In the customer journey and employee journey, various channels and interactions will be needed. How to design processes that facilitate the optimal value creation and experience for customers, employees, and organization?      
  3. It is a matter of matching expectations with budget and with skilled user experience (UX) designers and custom developer. A certain amount of usability can be baked into the process and the client apps just based on the experience of the process analyst/designer. But for really strong UX, especially in demanding environments, budgeting sufficient time for a UX designer and a significant additional amount of customized software development to match is the only way high levels usability can be achieved. 
  1. Explicitly Considering User Experience and Interaction Design as a First Class Citizen: In every process, you have to think about how to support executors with the right tools and facilities to enable them to make the process perform. That's not only screens in a bpms, but also the availability of information, the possibility to ask for help, back up by colleagues, etc, together with the business process modeling: Actual real-life use of a system will highlight areas where process design best practices and usability may work against one another. Therefore budgeting for an iterative development model will ensure that the users are not stuck with the first pretty wire-frame that was put into code. 
  1. An interesting challenge is often about balancing time, investment, and limitations of UI of BPM-Suites. Typically, when implementing a BPMS, users come from a situation in which they used a number of systems - automated or manual, including paper files, etc. The switch to one applicative interface will require a very thoughtful designed user interface. This means expertise on user interface design (and no, typical business analyst or BPM-engineers do usually to have these strengths, but often overrate their capabilities). It also required testing iterating testing. Various good techniques (observation, reflection, etc) are available. 
  1. Test UX design in the real world and be willing to iterate. If you don't test, you don't know. Playbacks for users before designs are completely implemented, field-testing with pilot groups, frequent turns on the development. Because design is all about getting the requirements right, and sometimes normal people do not know how to communicate "design" language to designers 
To ensure UX address appropriately in process design, well align your design talent with the process, and test, refine design, test, refine design... There is nothing more to say!


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