Month: March 2010

How well is your User Experience Defined?

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In the ever more digitally transforming world where users have begun to interact with each other and the businesses on a customized integrated dynamic platform, improving user experiences has become pivotal in adding business value. The emphasis here is on Usability, Performance, Capacity, Reliability, Availability and Security of the applications. Quantifying these qualitative factors will lead to defining, improving and managing user experiences. Though each is an extensive study within itself, I would like to prod my understanding with a few fundamental questions. Please apply them to the application environment you are working on and feel free to share your insights.

 Usability

  1. Has the psychology of the users been captured well enough to suitably build the mockups, prototypes and wireframes inorder to get buy-in?
  2. To what extent have the human factors been considered?
  3. How broadly was the heuristic evaluation and feasibility study done?
  4. What is the ease of use and integration with the other applications?
  5. Does the interface appeal to the users and reflect their needs?

 Performance

  1. How is your application behaving in terms of speed?
  2. Is your application exceeding the budgeted service level agreements?
  3. What are the industry performance standards for these transactions?
  4. What are your management’s acceptable thresholds towards latencies?

Capacity

  1. What are your sizing parameters?
  2. What factors constitute the sizing parameters?
  3. How will you compute the values for each of these parameters?
  4. Are the systems capable of handling unexpected variations in workloads?
  5. How much variation can the existing systems gracefully handle?
  6. What is your projection for future trends?

 Reliability

  1. What is the rate of pass and fail of your transactions (include transactions, sub transactions across all the systems and sub systems)?
  2. Do the total count of all the transactions within a user’s single transaction match with the transaction delivery process defined for that particular transaction?
  3. What factors constitute reliability?
  4. What exactly qualifies a transaction as successful?

 Availability

  1. What percentage of the time is application available?
  2. What are the industry standards for downtime?
  3. What are your contingency plans for downtime?

Security

  1. Why is security important?
  2. Are you conforming to the security standards?
  3. What is the cost of non-conformance?

User satisfaction is the Key. I am sure these questions forced you to think about your stakeholders satisfaction?

Let’s talk UEM

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UEM is gaining momentum as the world of solution providers are now entering the giant virtual community called the CLOUD. UEM encompasses a wide spectrum of study in every component of business process delivery chain ranging from inception of a concept – design and delivery of the product – end user experience. User experience management is very process oriented and helps align the business objectives with the expectations of the end user (customer). The emphasis here is on the end user. Each user experience is different and to strategically exceed the user’s expectations is the key to improving the business value.

Information technology has revolutionized the way world interacts with each other and has empowered businesses to gain competitive advantage. This element alone encourages the businesses to transform its processes across the board to build value. Beneath this transformation lie many horrendous challenges, the biggest being data management thus creating a huge liability. This data can be of various kinds, a few of which are:

  1. The feasibility analysis data
  2. The requirements analysis data
  3. Design and development data
  4. Monitoring Data
  5. Test management data
  6. Maintenance data
  7. Customer / End User data

 Users can be external and internal to an organization. End user data is central to all other components and the qualitative data provided by the end users help business verticals to strategically streamline their processes. My brother once told me that the “key to all the problems lie in the data”. If data is properly analysed and verified then the proposed solutions will be as practical as feasible. The nature of data is dynamic, ever growing and increasingly complex. Businesses need to identify various methods and tools to statistically trend and predict the changing patterns. So how do businesses cope up with this weaving challenge? Based on my experiences and study, I wish to further explore and share the various factors that define user experiences. Stay tuned!

NoteI use the terms end user and customer interchangeably.