Crafting a Stellar UI/UX Takes a Village
Have you ever been on a website or an application and had no idea what to do next? You swipe and tap your way through but to no avail didn’t end up where you wanted and have to start all over again. Frustrating is it? Often, one might applaud companies on social media for having superior customer service, I myself like to let them know what a great job they are doing. However, it necessarily isn’t the same when it comes to UI/UX.
Having an intuitive user experience is a goal with any application, but when users with many different backgrounds flawlessly use your app without guidance, then you’ve struck gold. It all comes down to that user experience. Just look at Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter; all these platforms allow users to share photos and comments, but each has a very different user experience. Moreover, each app attracts a certain targeted user. It’s by that design that we naturally gravitate towards certain programs and applications.
When our CEO developed the world’s first wearable machine learning algorithm for agriculture there was nothing to compare it to. Our intelliSCOUT application has many different types of users. When you look at our user base it ranges from farmers, agronomist, seed companies and large organizations all with different backgrounds. There is no such a thing as one size fits all. Or is there? While User Experience (UX) is a conglomeration of tasks focused on optimization of a product for effective and enjoyable use; User Interface (UI) is its design complement, the look and feel, the presentation and interactivity of a product. It is that perfect relationship of UI and UX that helps our user base flawlessly execute actions on our app. So how does one craft a UI/UX to capture them all?
In my experience it all comes down to your team! Craig Ganssle, the CEO of Basecamp Networks, has personally brought each one of us onboard to his vision. He hired a tremendous group of people with various backgrounds, it’s like the perfect recipe of talent to create the best UI/UX. It’s not one person that makes an app great, it is the input of all that drives it to greatness. I have worked on websites in the real estate industry with a group of 30+ agent and also a ecommerce site with a global team. Both very different applications but the goal was the same, to make it as user friendly and intuitive as possible.
Don’t get me wrong, there are industry standards and best practices for applications but how do you take them not so mediocre without being too obscure? It takes keen insight from creative, digital marketing and product team players to craft a flawless UI/UX to capture the target audience. We are fortunate enough to have a very hands-on VP of Global Ag Technology, Deb Colitas, who trains new users on our intelliSCOUT application. The learnings she gathers from proof of concept training sessions is invaluable when we are going to market with our application. As they say it takes a village.
As a marketing and digital expert the best way to start I found is to research and find the best way to attract your target market or user in this case. What are others doing in the industry, what can we do better than the competition, how can we get the eyes and ears of our users, and what are the restrictions? One thing I always think about is just because User-A said he would like x or would not use certain functions does not mean every user is represented. It will take insight from several users and different field conditions to gather all the right input. It never is just one thing, it’s always a culmination of things that drives our execution.
For instance our product developers might write a slew of code and work on input for the machine learning algorithm for weeks. The backend works flawlessly and our application does exactly what we want it do. However, if someone doesn’t know how to add a field report or where to swipe for the communication tool, or even add notes then we would have failed to understand our users.
Having a well balanced team in place, hands on input from users and the ability to be agile in a small company is what will take intelliSCOUT to the next level. For now we are working diligently to on our app and craft the best user experience to bring our application into the hands of ag universities and key research partners. I’m enjoying the traction we are making and excited to be working with such a great team of individuals. Be on the lookout for what’s to come to a field near you!