It’s a common problem for all developers, trying to come up with a platform that is both user-friendly and professional. Each industry – and business – is different and they’re all trying to portray a unique message about who they are, what they do and what they have to offer. However, this means that developers are having to work twice as hard to accommodate the various requests so that they can get it just right.
A lot of platforms are either one or the other. They might be particularly user-friendly, but they compromise professionalism so that the people trying to use it can do so easily. On the other side of the coin, some platforms are so professional, sending out a business-like message, that they become difficult to use or understand which means that people don’t enjoy using it.
The business world is already complicated enough and while many working in the industry, like BlackBerry with their bring your own device (BYOD) services, are trying to make things easier for all parties, it’s still a particularly difficult challenge but one that is vital to long-term success.
It’s the designers that you have to feel for, the people tasked with turning concepts into reality and then having every piece of the project scrutinized to such an extent that it’s almost a completely different project altogether by the time they get the final start off.
They’re expected to come up with something ground-breaking and magical that will benefit the business, and the work they’re doing is being torn apart because someone in the company has heard the term “UX” (user experience) and decided that they know all there is to know and how to get what they want.
Each user is different and they all take to the latest technologies differently. One employee trying to learn a new system might be able to adapt quickly, picking up on how it works and how to utilize it to the best of their ability to improve their work and productivity; while another employee might take significantly longer to learn and may never fully appreciate the value. In this instance, it’s almost impossible for designers to “design for user experience”, because there is no blueprint for a typical user.
Part of a successful project, especially with business technology, is that it’s easy to use and looks great, fitting in with the brand and the message. The biggest issue isn’t in fact getting the blend of professionalism and user experience right, it’s the compromise between those signing off the project and the designer.
Many people in decision-making roles have an idea of what they’re looking for, but lack the knowledge that a professional designer of web developer has yet still tries to implement their own strategies and limited knowledge of the subject. Rather than simply dismissing a project as “unprofessional”, give it to the people who are going to be using it and get their feedback.
It doesn’t have to be the most professional thing you’ve ever created in terms of the aesthetics, but it could be something that makes processes easier and even boosts sales, depending on your goals.
Image source: uxdesign.smashingmagazine.com