4 Tips for Cultivating Continuous Experimentation of UX
It’s no secret that we live in an age of radical technology change. And that means that digital experiences begin to feel dated faster than ever. The rate of innovation has raised the bar for UX teams seeking to captivate customers and win their business. Organizations must be in a constant state of innovation.
The innovative updates that users have come to expect always improve their look and feel, but more importantly, they improve the functionality of an experience, making it faster, more convenient, and more intuitive. Nothing is more useless to a customer than a beautifully designed app that doesn’t function well.
So in order to quickly and consistently rise to the level of ever increasing customer expectations, organizations must develop a culture of continuous experimentation in order to test which updates will truly improve an experience. An application must never be “done,” but always a work in progress, implementing new trends and technologies that users enjoy and that help them accomplish their goals faster.
Here are 4 tips for cultivating a culture of continuous experimentation on your UX teams.
1. Watch for new trends and discuss new ideas.
Innovators are always looking for new ideas. This ought to be a value that you cultivate within your organization. Some ideas may originate from within your team and the unique UX challenges you’re trying to solve, while others may be inspired by other like-minded organizations (or even direct competitors) who have made updates to their apps.
Regardless of where the ideas come from, seek to cultivate conversations around new ways of doing things that may prove to be more effective for your users. Try to see the rationale of changes you notice in others’ sites and apps, and discuss whether a similar solution may be useful for your team.
Remember that changes to UX shouldn’t be made simply for the sake of change. This is a great temptation for development teams who have become bored with what they currently have. Updates need to improve the experience in some measurable way.
Encourage internal discussions and debates about whether a specific new idea will be helpful to your particular users. What works for the users of another application may not be as welcomed a change for yours. And something that you find exciting may not be useful to your customers.
2. Let the data speak for itself.
At the end of the day, UX design and development teams can philosophize all they want. But that’s all it will ever be, unless they gather data to either prove or disprove their ideas. Data is able to settle the argument as to which features are the best for your users. In particular, we’re referring to research including usability testing, A/B testing, focus groups, and surveys.
You may want to test a feature like an infinite scroll of your products in the place of a paginated list. Or perhaps you want to test whether it’s better to automatically open a link on your site in a new tab or not. Maybe you want to test to find the best place to put a call-to-action on the page (or what wording it should contain). Put these things to the test with research.
And when you do put changes to the test, expect any result. With certain features, you may begin experimenting simply to settle an argument over whose idea really is better. Other times, your whole team may more or less agree that a particular change will be a clear improvement--only to find out that users hated your “improvement.”
Take steps to ensure you are giving your users what they want, rather than what you think they need.
3. Focus on one change at a time.
Continuous experimentation doesn’t mean that you’re experimenting on everything all the time. In order for your research to be actionable, you need to understand which changes are leading to which results. If you make too many changes to your UX at one time, it becomes impossible to ascertain which change is affecting the response of the user, one way or another.
Good experimentation has focus--a control group and a limited number of factors on which the team is currently experimenting. This will help you to avoid confounding variables.
4. Always seek to refine your knowledge of your user.
When experimenting with a new feature or functionality, it may be disappointing if the early results are that users don’t love your new idea as much as you did. But this isn’t a failure of innovation. Continuous experimentation isn’t as much about how many cool new things you can create as it is about learning how to anticipate and satisfy the needs of your user. And that means that certain changes shouldn’t happen at all.
In order to save yourself from unnecessary effort that will eventually need to be tossed aside, identify the underlying assumptions that you believe are driving the need for a given UX update. Then seek to test the truth of that assumption in small ways before you invest your team’s time and effort in creating a new or overhauled feature that users don’t want.
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When software releases take months instead of weeks, you are left unable to respond to changes in the market. That’s why we built a platform that empowers you to innovate UX at the pace of your ideas.
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Our modern development stack accelerates your time to market while democratizing UX design, enabling you to develop and deploy new user experiences more quickly. Spin up cross-functional teams that use micro frontends and automate your deployment with a Kubernetes-native infrastructure.
Entando’s platform is fully open source with available enterprise support. Begin using the platform today, and schedule a call with us to see how we can support your team.