Suneeta Munjuluri

Overcoming UX Design Challenges in User-Centric Apps

Amit Chowdhury, Head of Design at Samsung, discusses with Apxor, about the challenges in building UX Design for user-centric mobile apps.
Suneeta Munjuluri

In this world of rapid product experiments, features release in the blink of an eye.  So in the race towards solving consumer problems, User Experience has constantly been the driving factor towards building a sticky user base.

On Saturday, I attended an open discussion - “Overcoming UX design challenges in User-Centric Apps” hosted by Apxor. This discussion was with Amit Chowdhury, Head of Design, Samsung. With 25+ years of experience with market leaders like Microsoft and Google, Amit commands his own space in the UX Design world. The discussion was one of a kind - split into sections that detail how UX is now rated in this rapid development life cycle, what metrics can define good UX, where to start and his experiences on the evolution of UX design.

It was an hour-long session, and I along with the rest of the audience came back with a lot of insights and much food for thought!

Part 1: UX in product development -  The Need, Tough Compromises and Designated Roles

The webinar started with the most buzzing question -

Is there really a need for a UX design for a product?

Gone are the days when users used an app just for the services it provides. Today, there are N number of apps that provide the same solution. What makes the user choose your app over another is the kind of experience you provide. Unless the design and experience of a product meet the expectation of users, there is very little chance they will explore it! That is why User Experience plays a major role. More than just prioritizing User Experience, Amit insists on the need for UX design to be a part of the product development cycle.

When asked about the qualities a UX developer must possess, he illustrated two seemingly simple ones: the skill of craftsmanship and the skill of design thinking. To elaborate on this, he says craftsmanship is about mastering the art of creating something whereas design thinking is a strategic approach to consuming the art that was created and to be able to extract as much value as possible from it. For new innovations, craftsmanship is important but when it comes to enhancing an existing solution, design needs to be the focus.

In the interest of Fast-Paced Development, UX is given the boot more often than not. Amit addressed these UX design compromises by explaining how it works in a fast paced environment like a startup. While focussing on the craftsmanship of developing a feature, one learns and leverages knowledge from an existing design for a similar application. The primary goal for a startup would be to first identify if their solution is adopted by users, and then the design can be thought of. So instead of spending a lot of time innovating and testing user experience design, one can use and learn from existing design problems and implement them.

Part 2: Metrics to identify the performance of your User Experience Design

This section covered the nuances of user research, feedback, and analytics for measuring the performance of the user experience a product provides.

Taking in user research and feedback are much needed practices that continually improve the user experience of a product. No compromise can be made in those two aspects. Users are certain to have feedback about the product. How and when you capture it determines if you can even use it as a metric to measure the performance of your UX is what Amit claims. Click here to find out if you are collecting User Feedback the right way.

Amit shared his experience of understanding user experience while working with giants in the IT industry, by simply testing it internally. He says his team was given the new version of the product, and they were asked to explore it. That was the first step in getting feedback. He said if they were not able to use the product, no one could!

While this is applicable for B2C products, the best way to measure this complex metric for B2B products is to constantly keep tabs on what your users are doing. Analysis of impressions, scrolls, clicks and more help in evaluating the design. Getting user feedback is an explicit way of understanding user thoughts. And the most advantageous way to get this feedback is when it is gathered contextually.

Are onboarding tutorials a good way to ensure product adoption?

Amit recollects days when product development was not the biggest challenge. Complex solutions were being solved by companies over and over. What helped in understanding how to use these products were humble product guides. If there were 2 developers in a company, there used to be 10 technical writers just to document what was being built.

On-demand and less intrusive tutorials are what is needed now to enhance the experience users get. Contextual nudges, helpers, and tutorials give a niche value to the product experience on the whole. Contextual tutorials have taken user experience to the next level because of their adaptability. Here's why you should definitely reconsider your static tutorials and make a shift.

Identifying drop-offs between screens, setting benchmarks for the existing design, and having a clear vision for the product helps in laying out some basic metrics to measure UX. Analytics, user research, and feedback put together give you the complete picture. These metrics have a certain science behind them which makes them pretty reliable. Read more to see if you are tracking the right data points to give the best user experience ever! Qualitative Analysis and Quantitative Analysis need to be done in tandem to truly understand your users. When further asked how to choose between the two and their impact on the iterative process of UX design, Amit says Qualitative analysis can often be used to come up with hypotheses while Quantitative analysis helps you back it up. At the end of the day, all you got to do is Listen, Validate and Repeat.

Part 3 : Live Discussion Session

A lot of interesting perspectives came in when the attendees started sharing their own questions for Amit. The questions ranged across topics like designing UX for a certain demographic, Creativity in design, influencing a customer’s mindset and more!

One of the attendees asked how minimalist design impacts the usability of a product for the older generation. Amit mentioned that these days, businesses are demographic skewed and it highly depends on the business goals of the product when deciding on who the design should serve. Many companies have and abide by accessibility standards which are specifically used to cater to the needs of different users. With all that being said, he did stress on the fact that the more the variety of audience a product can serve effortlessly, the more impact it creates.

Answering another question, Amit expresses thatCreativity in UX is definitely something that should be explored and should not be shunned away from. If you can create something, no one can stop you from adding your touch to it. The importance of User Experience these days can be seen from the very beginning of a product exploration. He illustrated this with a wonderful example of Unboxing Videos of products. Your experience of a product starts from the packaging of the product, Impressions are built since then. That is how much user experience has evolved.

There were a lot of insights, guidance and relatable examples, in this brilliant session by Amit. My 2 important takeaways from this session were:

  1. Always listen to how your customer is responding to your product
  2. Give the experience they need as contextually as you can!

If you are looking to solve these challenges and run product experiments with the speed of thought, click here to get started now!

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