This week I was again lucky to be able to get a seat to an interesting excursion hosted by Eficode. The topic of the excursion was User Experience and developing digital services and it was held together with VIMAPA and KäY (Frieds of the User), a cross-disciplinary community of students interested in usability, user experience, user centric methods and services.
At Eficode, we were first welcomed with fresh salads and selection of beverages. It was nice to find yourself sitting next to new acquaintance to discuss about the evenings topic –and off the topic. 😉
But of course, the main motive for me to join this excursion was not only to meet new faces and enjoy refreshments, but to find out more and understand in more detail what UX means and how is it applied in practise: How professionals nowadays test usability and users and how is UX linked to the overall process-ecosystem and design process? What are the roles of the relevant stakeholders (clients, service-providers, users etc.) involved in the design process? Also, the topic is spot-on for my kind of marketing professional studying service design and having a keen interested in human behaviour.
I didn’t have to leave disappointed from this excu-visit that offered a lot of discussion and talk about the UX and testing followed by an impressive presentation on Eficode’s strategy and way of doing business.
First part of the visit was about UX and the importance of qualitative research and codesign. The practise on measuring customer satisfaction merely by quantitative methods was challenges and the importance of qualitative research that is needed for deeper customer understanding was stressed. I fully agree on the above. What do you do with merely a numeric rating, no matter how good or bad it is, if you aren’t able to understand the reasons and arguments behind it? “Oh, our customer’s give us 4/10… Seems we need to improve the quality of our services… BUT how do we do that? What are our customers dissatisfied with?”
Qualitative research and testing play an important role in developing digital concepts and services and is needed to validate the work including such as concepts, ideas, goals and usability i.e. user interface.
Optimally, testing would be done throughout the development process to ensure the ease of use (usability) and concept interesting enough, both key factors behind a successful product or service. Poor quality user interface can ruin the whole product or service to succeed, no matter how interesting your concept is. Usability is the key success factor especially when competing in an industry with homogenous service offerings. Think for instance banks with very similar lone and insurance offerings: the ease and smoothness of use of the online bank accounts. (You can always check my previous blog post on doing Business Design at OP Group, a customer of Eficode. 😉)
It is also good to understand the difference between the two: Usability testing and User testing.
Usability testing is about testing the products’ usability to determing how well it works from technical perspective. Mainly done by the developers and throughout the development process.
User testing on the other hand focuses on User Experience (UX) and studying the people using the product to understand what they click and why and how well they find what they’re looking for, e.g. task oriented testing. User testings are made in focus groups and optimally testing can be followed by clients and stakeholders. Also, this is a good way to convince and justify to the client. And at times also the experts working on the product development.
Note! The above testing should be considered as service design instead of scientific study. No huge reports of these will be made and are to validate a project with a short time to go market.
Very often a product is tested during the development (go-to-market) stage, but once a customer launches the product, no one cares about testing anymore. However, in this rapidly developing digital ecosystem and business environment full of competitive offering entering the market, in order for your product to survive and be successful, you should not forget about the continuous testing and frequent follow-up. As seen also at Eficode, the launch is only the beginning of the journey.
Accessability testing was also briefly mentioned. at the end of Rainos presentationis important and will become more important. From September 2018 onwards our national legislation requires equal accessibility for all when the EU Accessibility Directive will be implemented in Finland. Meaning that service providers are required to create fully accessible websites and digital services to all users. Although this directive binds only the public sector, private sector cannot afford not to follow and develop to meet the requirements.
I have to admit I had a gap in my civilisation here. Hence right after the visit I had to go to google to update my knowledge on the Directive and its implementation throughout the EU. In case interested, check here to start from.
Second part was about Eficode’s Digital Building concept. Their way of developing digital services and products and supporting clients on their digital transformation and how service design methods (from gaming, cross-functional collaboration and cocreation) have been implemented in the development processes to ensure fast and cost effective go to market time and to enhance client commitment. Interesting topic especially to an SD student.
Eficode’s concept from a clear and transparent project starting from the 5-day innovation session with the prospect client from zero* to ready product in 4 weeks –and even beyond in terms of post-launch support sounded truly impressive. *point where not a single code exist yet but the coding can be started.
Final part of our excursion was a visit to Eficode’s UX studio offering various techniques to test and follow: Streaming, online screens, “interrogation rooms” that could be followed behind a mirror glass… We got to visit the testing rooms and the different techniques were explained to us.
Eficode had also created a Digital Building Toolkit -game for a one-day co-creation workshop to kick-start the client’s digital transformation initiative and to enhance the common understanding and commitment throughout the different stakeholders.
1st part of the DBT-game is on defining who and what is needed at different stages of the project whereas the 2nd part concentrates on the project purpose and actions needed.
We did not have time to play this game, but I am in the hope of getting an invite to an open gaming session that was advertised to us. Maybe I’ll post a blog on the gaming session if it is to happen…
Phew, this blog turned out longer than planned. Congrats for making it to the end, appreciated. Hope you also find the content interesting.
Ps. At Eficode they surely understand what a customer support genuinely means 😉