Adding an app, a chatbot, or a new piece of software isn’t necessarily going to make everything easier for you. Becoming lured by the tech can only make everything far more complicated.
It is safe to say that many businesses get seduced by the tech and then their lives start to become far more complex than they originally envisioned. In a recent article we shared that tech is the future, but don’t forget the people.
Laura Yarrow and Jenny Lewis, from the Experience UX team, share their perspective on why businesses can overcomplicate, and focus attention on the people who use a product or service and the problem that needs to be solved. As Einstein said, ‘If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.’
The Pace Becomes A Problem
Laura recognises that the complexity and pace of change are embedded in our everyday lives. “From a UX perspective, we are the people who help others understand the decisions they make and ensure they make the right choice. However, I understand the arena that we are all a part of today. The pace of change is increasing and things are not as simple. Gone are the days of the job for life and the same colleagues for the entity of your career. The average number of jobs in a lifetime is 12, according to a 2019 Bureau of Labour Statistics. It is hard for people and businesses to pause and reflect. Even a fridge or toaster is now ahead of how we process things.”
“This represents a big question for us all going forwards. How can you reduce complexity when the pace of change won’t let you?”
But where do the real problems lie? As business pace means many are looking over their shoulder or looking to emulate their competition, Jenny recognises the need to always ask why you want to progress an initiative. Jenny says, “Businesses become immersed in new tech and what they want to pursue can sometimes be no more than a trend. For instance, AI does represent innovation, but many people are obsessed with trying to innovate, but not know why. I say it comes down to a lack of knowledge. Businesses do need to be challenged and asked ‘why.’
On many occasions when the ExperienceUX team comes on board, many projects have already been invested in. Jenny explains, “When the tech or a new working system is already in place, there is a very important stage, before, that can be overlooked. If a company invests in the research and usability aspect at the very beginning, then there is an informed decision to make a clear judgement on. Businesses need to have the evidence presented to them.”
Laura understands that when companies buy into the tech too quickly, it can affect future budget allocation. “If a digital team spent time in a completely new system and they fail, when they want to deliver something new in the future, they might have to fight that little bit harder for approval. Sometimes making decisions based on the investment of the tech alone can dent someone’s reputation, their credibility and future expenditure.”
Embracing Simplicity Works
Before you make that feet first investment into something new and tech-driven, understand who your marketplace is and tune into the people you talk to and understand who they are.
As an example, Laura looks back at a project that took the target audience to the heart of the business. Laura explains, “A national housing association was changing their website. The existing feel had a very corporate tone and feel to it. This was contrary to the people who needed the services of the housing association. A vulnerable person looking for a home was presented with messages that were contrary to where they are in their life. Everything had to be simplified. A corporate feel was changed to a company that valued connection and people wanting a better life.”
“What I want to highlight through this example is the importance to get to a point of clarity where you know who you are talking to and designing for. Remember that everyone isn’t your audience with the same goal.”
Advice To Embrace
Jenny understands the importance to deliver what your audience wants, not the boardroom or a new piece of equipment. Jenny says, “I have no problem with shiny new tools, just as long as you understand the people who will be using it.
“Just because a company loves it, doesn’t mean that others buy-in. Understand your customers as people, not metrics. It doesn’t work when you invest and then have to fix it later. This can take you away from your core business, which can be destructive. The more upfront you are when recognising the need before the investment can help with stronger long term results.”
It is far too easy to be bought in by the enticement of the tech. Laura concludes, “Take a step back and view what you want to deliver through the lens of the consumer. It can be the only option. This gives clarity and a view of what others see, that is not just analytics, stats, and features.”
We all want simplicity in our lives. A good place to start is not in what the solution will deliver, it’s starting by asking the right questions. Is it relevant? Does it support? What value does it provide? Only by framing everything in the context of others, can a tech solution help and become a worthwhile investment.