This is not a new concept. Technology change projects can tend to bias User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) principles for an organisation’s customers and external stakeholders. Certainly forgivable.
In our experience, Hart Square’s clients and technology partners also uphold the virtues of a happy UI/UX for their people: the hard-working daily users of the technology.
However, in the trundling wheels of a major implementation, how do we mitigate against the risk that this gets de-prioritised or deferred as a priority in a project? Of it becoming, against our better judgement, a Nice to Have?
A happy UI/UX for our people. How do we as project managers, tech partners, organisational leaders commit to the mantra alongside all other project criticalities? And how do we preserve this mantra post go-live?
A reassurance – organisations can usually rely on modern solutions’ innate UI and UX. There is almost always basic acceptance when we plug in and build functionality onto a solution. Most look, feel and flow well “out of the box”.
What of human nature’s instincts though? Our need to shape and personalise the stuff of our lives? We’re used to this now in our personal online activity. Why should our project, our organisation’s technology be any different?
One of the two pillars of the Lean Way, “Respect for People”, is useful here. As a first principle let’s commit to our people’s insight. They are the experts of the work. Respecting this principle builds trust and collaboration.
Let’s then commit to adult-adult dialogue. Our people understand budget limitations, negotiation of priorities, system standards versus tampering even if this brings conflicts of interest. This commitment empowers maturity.
Let’s then commit to pragmatism: where? Where do we embed UI/UX within our technology roadmap, so it has its right place for our people as well as our customers and stakeholders?
Here are six key places to embed UI/UX principles for your people within your technology roadmap:
- Requirements gathering – almost all tenders for websites include descriptive lines on UI/UX requirements to serve customers. Why not offer that key steer to tech partners on high volume, high intensity processes where look, feel and flow will be key to keeping performance levels high and driving user adoption?
- Vendor selection – Hart Square has recently introduced a standalone demo session to business leads within our new technology tender process. Well populated, this session is a perfect place to assess how good a tech partner’s innate UI/UX performs to the right audience.
- Specification/ To Be process design – this is Lean, this is invaluable. The blueprint for future processes must allow space not only for functional redesign, but also harmony in how processes look and flow through systems.
- Show and tell/User Acceptance Testing – Here, the focus is often as it should be: on the engine, how it operates. Yet most tech partners offer the opportunity for input on UI/UX in these sessions – refining form layout, tidying tabs and ribbons; the best partners offer on-the-spot refinement where appropriate.
- Training – everyone “on-system for go live” needs training. There are always the early adopters, the 20% who know and willingly share with colleagues the happy virtues of the new UI/UX. Commit to training these people well upfront, and they will become your UI/UX champions as well as process champions.
- Regular review points – one month after going live will be too soon; 12 months after sounds a little late. So, after three to six months, build in a rolling review point with your people. Using a survey or user group will help you understand what flows and what still falters in the ongoing solution. Giving the highest value recommendations a priority in your development plan should ensure UI/UX remains valued by all.
A final reassurance – recognise that it is sometimes daunting and not innate to preserve these principles when so much is at stake during major changes or a busy development diary.
“Good enough” is still a positive if there are heavy constraints on what you need to do with the time and money you have got to spend.
Keep mastery in sight, though. Always valuing UI/UX for our people makes masters of the work and of the mission.