Boosting Your Software’s User Experience: My Point of View as a User
I’m neither a software developer nor a UX designer. Yet, my experience of using many kinds of software made me published this article.
There are endless numbers of applications and software on the web, ranging from paid to freeware and even open-source, and can be used in a number of devices, desktop and mobile alike.
However, many of the software received a variety of feedbacks and criticisms due to differing qualities among each other. While end-users like me are keen to use it first-hand, they might also be wary of how it may work or whether it will function well.
One of the most complaints and feedback from the users is the unfriendly user experience, or the user interface is hard to navigate. I do often encounter this situation. You may be proud of the fact that you created the software from scratch (hey, congratulations), but it doesn’t mean your potential users would want to use it in the long run especially when they felt it is pretty much a hassle using it.
This whole article is pretty much my point of view as a frequent user of software and apps who really cares and being particular about the user experience. Here are several ways you can do to improve your software’s UX.
1. Put yourself into your user’s shoes.
Rather than thinking that you have done all your blood and sweat towards your software, think about how customers would perceive your app, mainly if they use it for the first time.
Users would be easily put off and will give you a negative review over something that you could have it fixed.
Test out the software yourself as if you are using it for the first time.
Look over the reviews made by your users on the Internet. If you create an app, look through the reviews on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
As getting user’s feedback is vital to attract more people to use your software, this brings to the second point.
2. Carry a remote usability test
With the reviews in your hand, you should be aware that you must test your software out to see those issues by yourself. However, it doesn’t have to be complicated.
There are several benefits of carrying out a remote usability test. First, it is affordable as the users do not have to be present physically in a specific location.
As it only requires a computer and an Internet connection, as long the users are stay connected, the test can be done remotely. Online remote desktop tools such as TeamViewer or Parallels would quickly facilitate the testing.
With such tools, they can analyze the data, and generate relevant reports and statistics from there. Since multiple users can participate in the test, it will bring greater diversity when it comes to testing out your software.
This, in turn, will eradicate the need to establish a specialized laboratory just for testing out your software, cost savings too!
3. Educate your users, minus the complex jargon.
Okay, some users intend to use your software, so they downloaded it. At the same time, navigating your whole software can be confusing especially for first-timers like them, causing them to feel put off at first.
No, they don’t give up just yet! As they could not figure out how to use your software first-hand, they will dig over the menus in the software to get through the help section, or resorting to the Google search even.
However, what they get is either irrelevant information or too many technical jargons and explanations they have to deal with. You don’t want to get that kind of scenario, do you?
Here’s the thing. Your users will give up quickly if they could not use your software correctly. Therefore, it is crucial that you, as a software developer, to ensure that your users can understand how your software works.
Properly educate your users, clearly explain how to use your software by providing a step-by-step process, and publish it through a blog post or a landing page on your website. Even better if you can attach the screenshots that show exactly where you should do each step.
You would also want to leverage the power of animating visuals by creating a video tutorial and upload it on sites like YouTube or Vimeo so that everyone can watch it.
4. Have a clear target on whom you want to use your software.
You should know who you want to target when developing your software. As user experience is one of the crucial aspects of getting more users to use your software, it is essential to ensure that you don’t lose track and focus on how your potential users will use your software
If you are targeting professionals or expert users, it may be okay to design your software with the complexities of navigating through it so does to meet what they are expecting for.
However, the same can’t be said for first-time or novice users who want to use your software as straightforward as possible. Sure, they can explore your software to get the idea of how it works, but if they want to use it immediately, you can’t expect them to let them figure out how to use it on their own.
Also, jargon and details that are too complex and technical may put them off from using your software in the first place.
It is imperative that you have a clear target on whom to market your software as not being able to define your target users accurately would cost you hundreds if not thousands of customers in the long run.
In a nutshell
There you have it. I could hear you that implementing the steps above is way too easier for me to say than to be done. However, it’s not impossible if you have a clear workflow on improving your software’s user experience first and foremost.
All the suggestions I explained above are, as I mentioned, suggestions. You know better how your software works and how you would want your users to utilize it. That being said, take one step at a time, listen to the feedback and reviews from your users, and figure out how to solve them.