What can a UXO expert do for you?
In a previous piece What people mean when they talk about UX, we covered what UX is and what its fundamental principles are. Good UX matters because users matter, and without users any product or service will falter and disappear. Imagine if you went through a day where all the faucets worked the way you expected them too, your doors were clearly marked push and pull, your chairs fit perfectly under the table at the right height for your body, and all the buses came on time.
Maybe your soda can even fits just right in the cup holder, and the armrest is big enough to accommodate you and your seatmate.
That’s what good UX feels like in the real world—so pleasant, that you at some point you don’t even notice it’s there.
It just whirrs in the background, enhancing your day. It’s smooth. But that level of design perfectionism is often difficult to achieve. It requires a lot of time, expertise, and resources (money). It also tends to require a dedicated staff who are skilled at scoping out who your product users are and figuring out what makes them tick. That’s where UXO (user experience optimization comes in).
UXO relies on the expert knowledge of a few who really understand what makes users tick, without having all the specifics, or requiring the same hurdles as an intensive user research process. Picture for a moment that you are a chef. Everyone you cook for has different tastes, and those tastes might vary quite dramatically. On the other hand, after cooking for a wide range of people you have a pretty developed and sharp sense of what is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ food—what food will really please the majority of consumers, and bring very few complaints from the rest. You also probably know how to succeed in a variety of different cuisines and kitchens. And you can whip up even a quick meal that has artful presentation.
A UXO expert is exactly that chef, in the digital world. Without having to meet a bunch of your specific product base, they know how to produce designs that consistently please consumers, and look good. They can offer critical and sharp feedback on your existing designs, and recognize system flaws that might make your product difficult or annoying to use. They can also produce solid prototypes for you that range from quick-and-dirty to high-resolution and convincing.
As we covered in our previous piece Creating Personas for UXO, the UX process, and design process more generally, requires talking to users through empathy interviews, brainstorming product ideas, and iterating on various prototypes. It’s a cyclical, and intensive process. And not one that small teams, or teams on tight deadlines are able to undertake. A UXO expert, like the ones at GobySavvy, can speed up this process for you by letting you jump through several steps.
Best of all, a UXO expert can jump in with you at any stage of the process.
If you’re still in the formative stages of a venture or idea, you can ask a UXO expert to help consult with you on initial product mockups, and ways of building your prototypes that are consistent with solid UX practice.
They can also help you build early user profiles and design guidelines that form the foundation of your product. If you want a UXO expert to design a full prototype set—including the actual wireframes and product flow—it’s best to jump in at this stage.
By starting to work with your consultant early, you reduce the risk that you might have to unnecessarily pivot your work later on, and you and your expert can work together to iterate the product ethos and design throughout.
If you’re in a middle-stage of product development, and already have some mockups, or even some user profiles built, a UXO expert can offer you crucial feedback. They can move through your mockups, and offer advice on the flow, visual vocabulary, and overall ‘feel’ of your early product. This might especially be helpful if you have an investor meeting or progress presentation coming up soon. If you are interested in doing some UX work in addition to getting UXO-based advice, you can consult with your expert on how best to proceed with that too. Afterall, UXO experts are skilled at both traditional UX and UXO—and at times a combination of the two is exactly what you need.
Companies and groups that are in late stages of product development can use assistance from a UXO expert as well.
Even if all you need is some retouching or polishing, that finesse from someone who really knows what you’re doing can give you the edge you need to outdo competitors. Make sure to leave enough time for this that the feedback you receive can be incorporated into the final designs for your pitch or product launch.
If you’ve already launched your product, and are looking for someone to comb through and make the design smoother, that’s a good opportunity to consult with a UXO consultant too.
They can tighten the details of your product scheme, and let you know if there are any gaping holes. UXO experts are good at working with limited time-frames and particular constraints—make sure to communicate with them about what those might be.
The gist of it is that UXO experts can be used by all sorts of teams, at all sorts of stages of design and development processes. It’s always useful to have a pair (or more) of external eyes on your product—but especially eyes that have advanced training in ‘reading’ and advising your design. So if you’re wondering whether you should take the plunge—the answer is yes.
In later pieces we’ll go through technical nitty-gritty steps of the UXO process and the expert-client relationship. We’ll also dive deeper into the array of options that UXO experts, like the ones at GobySavvy, can offer. For now, check out some of the sample work and client testimonies on our site. Feel free to contact us if you’d like to speak about how UXO might fit into your product development scheme, and how we can help make your design as polished and elegant as it can be.