Any time we visit a website, use an application, cell phone, or any other product, we associate an experience with that interaction. We refer to this experience as User Experience (UX). It is the way we feel when we interact with a product or a system. A positive user experience is the reason why people recommend Apple computers to their grandparents or use Airbnb to stay in a stranger’s house.
User Experience Design is to design something with purpose while keeping the user as a core focus of the project - ultimately, wowing them with a great experience that keeps them coming back.
The Importance of User Experience in Salesforce
First impressions are crucial. This goes for the examples above, but also for a CRM like Salesforce. Your Salesforce interface might only have one chance to help the user understand the value of the system and how it can positively impact their day-to-day tasks. A poorly built user interface can cause someone to abandon the entire system, leaving your company’s user adoption of Salesforce at great risk.
On the flip side, an interface that is designed with users in mind has the reverse effect and can make them feel the technology is working for them - not the other way around. By getting a comprehensive understanding of how your users will navigate the system and its data, and by putting thought into the design process, you can empower users with all the information they need in the right place.
Through UX Design, you can make users feel that the system is there to help them. Emotions are powerful, and good UX Design can tap into that power. Ultimately, a positive and effective user experience can lead to increased user adoption, efficiencies, and better outcomes for your business.
Key Fundamentals of User Experience Design
UX Design is a relatively new field in the digital world. Over the years, many methodologies and opinions have been shared in the space. But as in any other field of expertise, there are key fundamentals that we generally gravitate towards because they have proven to serve as a best practice.
Graphic artists often say, “You can’t design in a vacuum.” This is even more critical where user interactions are concerned. Users are at the center of everything that encompasses UX, and user feedback is the lifeblood of good UX Design. But receiving user feedback is not always an easy task. There are myriad methods for gaining user feedback, but the important thing to remember is to get as close to the source as possible. For example, you can conduct user surveys at strategic intervals throughout the deployment phase. Or you can host an in-person gathering and obtain user feedback in a more conversational manner. At CRM Science, we partner with our clients to help them obtain and validate user feedback, so that we can tailor the Salesforce user experience based on empirical data, not assumptions.
Consistency is crucial. When my former teammates used to nitpick over process, I would tell them, “Rather than finding the optimum process, it’s more important that we are all working the same way.” Consistency allows for efficiency because it takes the guesswork out. At the time this article is being written (2019), Microsoft Office applications still use an icon of a floppy disk to represent the save button. Many younger users don’t know what floppy disks are, but they know that clicking the icon will save their work!
It’s important; however, to discern between industry standards and simply “mimicking” a successful design. Imitation doesn’t work because companies and its users are unique.
The Lightning Design System is a great example of streamlining the user experience based on industry standards - from both technical and visual standpoints. It allows for a seamless transition because components look and feel familiar to users. Simultaneously, it increases efficiency and empowers users to work not just faster, but smarter.
Don’t be afraid to deviate from the plan. Be flexible enough to make changes to your Salesforce org as new data and feedback presents itself. Changes in technology, market trends, and industry standards are all good reasons UX strategy and design could shift. On a micro-level, we should be ready to update our system based on the feedback we receive. Prototypes, wireframes, and mockups are all powerful tools based on the principle of being ready to change the system mid-process. Our lean team of on-shore experts uses Agile methodologies to deliver value throughout the life of a partnership.
UX It is often a forgotten step in a Salesforce implementation, but the design of your projects is just as important as the solution it brings to you. UX is not a fad. As long as there will be human beings interacting with machines and systems, UX will be relevant. That’s why CRM Science has added in-house UX resources to our team. With these new resources, you can benefit from our white-glove services even more. Click the banner below to set up a time to discuss how our newly-added UX capabilities can drive your project forward.
Written by Philip Bolognini, UX Designer