Holistica provides organisations with end2end services for workspace transformation. From the business case and discovery phase through the technology implementation up to change management and deployed solutions adoption. To set these multidimensional programs for success each phase is carefully planned and executed.
In this article let’s focus on pure technology experience design and implementation putting aside the governance, change and adoption. Every time we create a new smart space, we can’t wait for the reaction of the people that are going to benefit from the solution. What is the people’s interaction with the technology? Is it intuitive? Does it make sense?
Whether it’s a smart workspace or mixed-use developments the technology experience starts with defining the types of people that are going to use the spaces, user journeys and use cases. To minimise the risk of high costs associated with making changes to software after it has been released, collecting the feedback is crucial. This can be done at various stages of solution development. Holistica works with multiple technology suppliers and integrates various pieces of software and hardware into seamless solutions. Here are the steps we take when delivering the technology experience.
1. Discovery & Definition
We start with capturing the requirements of various types of spaces, users and desired outcomes. Then we are mapping them against existing solutions, (often already procured) new systems and identify gaps and saving opportunities to deliver clients ambitions. This is a good moment to create Solution Architectures that help to facilitate future conversations with the internal teams i.e. security, compliance, application owners of the systems we need to integrate with as well with the vendors.
Next stage is to outline how the user interfaces are going to look like. Wireframe is a draft project with a small amount of details, designed to effectively outline the main aspects of the final product. It should show the most important elements of the project, give an idea of the structure of information,and include a description and basic visualisations of the interfaces and interactions. It is a simplified product plan, intended to give an outline of the project. It is very useful for collecting preliminary feedback at the initial stage of the solution development.
3. Creating Mockups
A mockup graphically presents the final product as well as shows its content and functionalities. It is more detailed than a wireframe, but unlike a prototype, it is not clickable or interactive. Mockups are especially useful for analysing the visual side of the interface. They are attractive to the recipients and more cost efficient to prepare than prototypes. They also facilitate understanding of the most important software functions.
The appearance and functionality of a prototype is very similar to the final version of the product, but it doesn’t show the finer details and there is no integration with the back-end. For example: if the prototype is a mobile banking application, you can go through the process of defining the transfer, but after clicking ‘send’, nothing will happen, because there is no integration with the database or the authentication. The prototype allows you to simulate processes and test interaction with the user interface. From this, you can collect valuable information, especially about the logic of the solution, and any appropriate information can be introduced at an early stage of the development.
5. Creating a product following Agile Methodology
We understand what challenges can occur when an agile tech company meets a corporation and as part of our methodology we help to facilitate this type of collaboration.
It is impossible to create a good product without frequent validation of its usability. Therefore, incremental software development, where testing is part of the production cycle, is very effective. Testing of each subsequent version of the software, and their opinions can be collected to provide valuable insights allowing the solution to be tailored to the users’ needs. The most exciting moment of product development is testing new solutions with small groups of people asked to use the solution every day. It provides the perfect opportunity to collect opinions at various stages:
- during the first contact, without any instructions
- just after the first contact, with a little bit of help
- after a week or two, to check how the users’ experiences have changed after going through the learning curve
There are also different methods of collecting opinions, such as the following:
One of the most popular methods to gather feedback is a survey. It is a simple and relatively quick way. Once created, the questionnaire can be used repeatedly, and the data obtained in this way has a clear form. It is also convenient for the respondent – all they need to do is answer a few questions.
2. Face-to-face interviews
A face-to-face interview is nothing but a direct conversation with the respondent. In this form of contact, sometimes graphics, text and multimedia are used to achieve even better results. The face-to-face interview is a great opportunity to get more detailed opinions about the product or to ask additional questions about the most interesting issues. The downside, however, is that collecting data in this way can be time-consuming.
3. Suggestion box
This tool allows you to collect suggestions and comments from users. Such data make it possible to better adapt the product to peoples’ needs. Information can naturally be collected digitally, and the key element is to encourage users to share their ideas.
Most users are happy to help with product improvement, but some of them take this step to a whole new level. In my experience, on several occasions, I have been very pleasantly surprised by the effectiveness of a suggestion box.
In most of the cases the solution won’t be built from scratch but composed of various products delivered by different suppliers. It still can be intuitive, sleek and in brand if well thought through.
Listening to people’s feedback can’t be overestimated if we want to deliver excellent quality and functionality. The technology has to assist people – not other way round. This process of defining and constant validation might seem tedious but to deliver an amazing experience, listening to its beneficiaries its crucial. After all, there is a reason why we have two ears and only one mouth.