Application UX Architecture
Making it easy for the user is the name of the game.
As an Application UX Architect I look at the entirety of the problem and solve it holistically. By understanding the interconnected functions, design features, technology and experience, the role of a UX architect is the ability to paint a larger and yet, detailed picture of the entire ecosystem. Most importantly, this needs to be achieved in accordance with the capabilities of the entire organization, top to bottom.
By melding human needs and business requirements with a cohesive creative, I am able to formulate an accessible, responsive, user-centric and friendly experience. Take a look at how I break it all down into what I perceive are the key tenets.
The tools of the trade
To get things going, use the right UX tools and go in the best direction
The role of the User Experience Architect is to problem solve with the user’s best interest in mind and using the right tools is how you make certain everyone is on the same page to best perform this task. From the simplicity of Figma, Axure and Sketch wireframes to high-fidelity Adobe XD compositions, visualizing the path to the best solution. A clear communication of this design and development direction is the key to aid in this evolutionary and iterative process.
There is a bit of an art to all of this, so go ahead and ask me just how I do it.
Data is data
At some point, data becomes all the same, it is how you approach and parse it that is different
It’s inevitable that every app has data to work with, but how you present it can vastly change a user’s experience. Understanding what data matters is a key first step, as this will allow a proper interface and experience to result. Working closely with a technical team and domain experts allows this knowledge to be gained – finding the right experience doesn’t stop there though, the back and forth based on technical constraints must follow to arrive at the ideal experience that balances not just the needs of the user, but of the technical constraints guiding the solution.
Say goodbye to tables
Getting the information you need doesn't need to be difficult, present it cleaner and more human
For years, as technical teams have led implementations of applications, data tables have been a go-to solution. But rarely is spitting out a bunch of tabular data the right approach for a user. Establishing good patterns for displaying high volumes of data has been a critical responsibility and each instance requires a unique approach, but regardless of approach, it’s imperative to always ensure the user can see the data that is most important to taking the actions necessary.
Call to action
People react well when they are guided to the answer and a clear action oriented experience ensures this trust
While it’s important to always show the user what they need to see, key to any implementation is bringing out the things a user needs to do. While many users might know based on abundant usage, reaching users, especially older users who are less technically savvy, is critical in ensuring adoption and proper usage of an application.
Performance and timelines
Balancing the needs within a schedule is an artform
While it is always important to create great user experiences, it must be understood that there is still a balancing act. Application performance and time schedules always force experience or interface changes and it’s my job to react appropriately. This might mean small compromises while maintaining as much of the desired experience as possible. Project timelines also constrain implementation, so it’s a matter of assessing the most important parts of the experience.
Hone in on the details
Let's face it, these problems can be complex - start from a distance and walk yourself to the details
By approaching the task with the fundamental user needs at the forefront and keeping your wireframing process simple, it becomes easier to focus in on the details. Always aim to for the user’s best interests and you will never fail to deliver on the experience they are looking for.
Accessibility and Internationalization
Anyone and everyone should be able to use what you got
People of all walks of life should be able to access the services that you have on offer. From being able to use the app with your preferred language to adherence to WCAG 508 compliance standards. In all modernization efforts these are imperative features that help people navigate in an environment where often times, they can be overlooked.
Responsive to all devices is a product standard
Mobile, tablets, desktops... people use all of these, let them get answers in the way it fits their lifestyle
In many ways, the mobile phone has become a person’s main computing device; the desktop solution as the only solution is a thing of the past. A fundamental key to modernization is to adhere to responsive design as a first class citizen in application development.
A cohesive experience
Having the proper UI framework can make or break your experience
As a UX architect I ensured the experience is consistent across apps. This was done through establishing both patterns and common components.
Wily Styles and Wily Angular Commons is a custom framework that is the perfect companion to our Transcend Brand look and feel.
This also gives interface designers the ability to jump right in and start coding from day one. After training and research, I created a custom front end responsive framework in CSS/Flexbox. This allowed for a universal yet, dynamic look and feel that is able to span across our entire suite of applications.
Ultimately this new framework increased the speed of prototyping for demonstration and production level applications.
Wily Styles on Github https://github.com/gditfc/wily-styles
Wily Angular Commons on Github https://github.com/gditfc/wily-angular-commons
These mantras are your enterprise experience
Solving the problem of modernizing large systems is understanding just how flexible and expandable your suite needs to be. My approach was to think of applications as individual configurable entities that rely on certain key functions, these functions should be and can be shared.
I am fully capable of creating and adapting the project vision by communicating the needs of the user into wireframes, functional prototypes and sitemaps that details the interconnectedness of technology and usability.