In a recent business meetup, a business associate introduced me to his friend, who is developing a web application. During our brief discussion he mentioned that he would need our User Experience services once he completes the product development.
This is not the first time I get this kind of request. Most of the businesses consider User Experience as an activity which is done post development, to improve the look and feel of the application. And I started explaining this business man how and why he should involve user experience activities throughout the product development cycle or even earlier.
One of the simple analogy I share to explain folks to get this point across is building construction. To build flats, hospital, theater or an individual home, you would need engineer and contractor, on top of this you also need an architect who would create the blueprint for the building. Architect creates blueprint based on the requirements of business, end users, stakeholders and more. If all these things are not analysed before actual construction, there will be a lot of rework, additional expense and delay in completion. For an example, imagine a builder starting construction of an hospital without escape stairs or elevator that does not support patient trolley. Wouldn’t it require some major rework?
Similarly while developing a product or a web/mobile application, if you start development without user experience activities, you might end up with a product which is unusable by the users or which is complex to use. At times the entire product has to scrapped and has to be started again from the drawing board. There are many cases in which entire project/product was abandoned as the developed product did not meet users expectation and the company did not have budget or time to fix the issues.
User Experience activities should be involved in all the phases of the development such as Requirement gathering & analysis phase, Design phase, Implementation phase, Deployment phase.