The business benefits of intuitive, user-friendly and trending technologies have been highlighted in various sources, that includes prominent media outlets like Harvard Business Journal and Forbes. If you are looking for delivering positive user experiences (UX), a task for a multidisciplinary team is seen. Initially, researchers investigate and document the current state of user experience, then designers craft the solutions to address the pain-points and challenges of the present user experience. And then finally, engineers translate designed tools into perceptible technology products that yield much enhanced user experience.
The first and foremost step in the process of delivering the positive user experience is user research. We can say that, it’s a multi-faceted approach to understand the user’s behavior, business and technology they deal with. By having the contextual inquiries, surveys and interviews, we can have the most common user research methods to yield great insights. However, by having the multi-tool, multi-user role, multi-location, multi-step and process-oriented solutions, we can have the much more complex user experience challenges. Let’s take a look at a few standard research methods that fall short:
While investigating user experience in intricate and complex environments, human factors expertise is required. Human factors is one of the key discipline of understanding how users can interact with their environment from psychological as well as physical perspectives. Psychological facets focus on challenges like “how the user will remember and execute the exact sequence of buttons so that they can press the button to initiate a rocket launch?” Today physical considerations deal with tangible objects and address questions including “Does the size of the buttons on the keyboard he is using, allows easy and error-free data entry while user is wearing gloves?” However, answering such kind of questions needs proper training in human factor methods and theories, something that most of the user experience practitioners do not includes or posses.
What is so special about Human Factors?
Having both the factors – psychological and physical aspects of technology, we can have a successful enterprise UX. If technology is not optimally designed and developed to prevent errors, speed up the data entry, be convenient to carry around and so on, it would negatively impact the business operations and can even lead to severe accidents and disasters. Definetly, standard user research methods can restrict the need for a streamlined process to get improved design of an interface. Although, the methods for documenting and quantifying the relevant components of user experience, including critical and non-critical decision points, click-paths, key-strokes and cognitive fatigue come right from the human factors domain. For instance, human factors experts can quantify exactly and in numerous ways how distracted drivers are who text on their phones. Such insights make significant impact on design of enterprise software, especially tools that are used in industrial space.
User research in any technology design process is important. Methods for user research should be selected by experts as they should know the best pros and cons of each are, and which goals will help meet the business objectives. However, the human factors expertise may not always be required as a part of the user research process, but it is for a secret weapon, while we are handling complex enterprise operations and technology challenges. Ensure your research and development team has the appropriate expertise for your business and technology projects.