CIOs are tasked with evolving business through technology that can streamline processes, reduce overhead and increase ROI. However, the potential payoff for a particular technology isn’t the only variable to consider when concepting a new business application.
Assuring that the technology is usable by your employees is one of the most important factors. Building an application that is easy to train, adapt and use on a regular basis, makes the goals that you set easier to achieve. When assembling your application development team, make sure that design thinking is a primary part of their development process.
The way to create applications that are useable to your company is by engaging the end user immediately and throughout the development process.
What is Design Thinking?
Similar to Agile Methodology, design thinking is an approach to application development that focuses on the user. It uses creative problem solving and an iterative process that is constantly getting to, “What is the human need behind this?”
When the process accounts for the user first, the development team ends up with a more intuitive product. In the past, development teams have been rigid in their plan and focused primarily on technology functionality. Businesses need to adapt much more quickly in today’s world which increases the need for an application that can be easily assimilated into the workflow.
Design thinking helps “create a user experience for a deeply technical system that a non-technical user can engage with… trying to make tech systems easier to engage with for non- or low-tech users.”
-IBM Designer Doug Powell
Build a User-focused Development Team
Trying to incorporate agile methodology or design thinking into your development framework means you first have to incorporate it into skillsets within your development team. Whether you are utilizing an in-house development team or partnering with a solutions provider, make sure that there is a dedicated team member for usability and user experience. Having that team member with the user as its singular focus is key to assuring the adoption and successful use of the application within your organization.
Agile Process: Design. Prototype. Iterate. Repeat
Involve the End User ASAP
The decision to build an application typically involves high-level data analysis and an understanding of inefficiencies or issues from a high level. While that decision is typically made by executive level management, the end result shouldn’t depend solely on their input. In fact, they are typically never going to use the application in their day-to-day workflow.
The only way to create applications that are useable to your company is by engaging and considering the end user immediately and throughout the development process. Agile and design thinking are all about a continual design and redesign based on user feedback. Get rid of the assumptions and interview the end users. Design based on their feedback and use them to test.
Could Your Business Benefit from a Custom Built Application?
Regardless of how you want to do it, every company can get more efficient and more productive. Automation is one of the key ways of achieving those goals. Whether you are interested in building your first application or if you have built many, you know the key to a successful build is a quality development team.
Next Horizon can deploy a team within your company that we manage. We have high-quality professionals and award-winning expertise that meets the needs of your particular project needs. Contact us if your business could benefit from a custom-built application.