UX asks, and the solutions: The Funny, The too-out-of-box and The Excel Sheet!
Hello Everyone…Wanted to share some experiences I had while interacting with multiple stake holders around topic of UX and suggested solutions that are brought on table.
All names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this blog are fictitious. No identification with actual persons, places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred 😛
A high-tech Analytical app helping root cause analysis of a “space ship” failure.
Users mentioned that we need too many clicks to get the the first level of codes of failure from where we would want to drill down
Lets Change from Click to Hover! This way user just has to keep hovering across menus and hierarchical code list. This wil not require any clicks…A Zero Click UX 😆 😆 … now although it does solve the Click issues, I don’t think we really solve the issue at hand, option of navigating to the point of interest, the fastest and easiest.
Let us give gesture based application control where combinations of hand gesture can help navigate to a “surface” of analytical information.
Well, only thing I can say is..I would love it too. If I could do it now, in current timeline and budget.
Somehow, excel seems to be the solution for everything. Even in this scenario someone comes up with an idea of Download to excel and then we can do “anything” with it. These are the hardest proposals I find to tackle. Excel is a great application, no second thought about it. However fitting it into larger context of an application supporting various business flow, and technically available on platforms considering all security aspects, maybe not! however again…from UX, excel really rocks in many scenarios in context and many isolated process steps too.
UX, in this case is disarming the functionality, It cannot be a design as a generic do-it-all graphs from available dataset.
Ask the following question: What is the analytical application meant for?
Example: It could be application for, or encompass, entry points for Top 5 root cause or Todays Top Failures or Related Failure Codes for Top 5 Codes etc.
Essentially disarming the entry barrier by defining what user would use the application for is one of the key UX activity to be done at beginning of the project.
The funny and too-out-of-box in this case can also be considered based on target platform combined with feasibility aspect of DT workshops.
A Data entry application to enable Fast data entry and advising to customer on stock availability.
Users mentioned that we need to be able to enter quantities for a material against
3. Advice Stock Levels configured against Size-Color Combination
4. Across multiple shipping locations
So essentially, for a material there are 3 dimensions: Size, Color and Location. Also for combination of Size and Color we have to Show the Stock for advising.
The Funny Here is Excel!
One of the stakeholders jumped in with a solution of Excel with upload/download options.
Let the user fill in entire order in an excel sheet and on a button click, upload all of the data to backend, see the status as red yellow green and allow download to see detailed status in Excel sheet! 😎
Lets record voice on the communication between sales-rep and customer, parse the voice to text, do natural language processing and in real time create order entries while advising stock.
Well, again, only thing I can say is..I would love it too. If I could do it now, in current timeline and budget.
The Obvious UX:
Show only what we can on a screen and is relevant. This comes from a seasoned UX, it was observed that 60% of color-size combination does not have stock. So the UX advisor advices to remove the entries for the ones not available and give a hierarchical navigation from material to size to color to stock and then entries for quantities across door. This way it can be made simple, responsive across all devices.
Well, what it does not achieve is the primary ask…Speed!
In a call center or in general for any fast data entry scenario, the short cuts and muscle memory of users come into play BIG TIME. Here we cannot have a floating size grid as suggested in the obvious UX above as that will mess up the muscle memory of the users. Example: For a particular material type, the user know that 3 tabs brings them to size XL. So, it has to stay that way, even if the previous sizes have no stock. By doing so even if we restrict the application to desktop only, its really fine, Migrating call centers to all on mobile is not going to happen, in near future at-least.
So, a flat UI, Simplified in Data display with high usage of keyboard shortcuts to help navigate contexts across colors, sizes and locations, along with apt highlighting and visibility of critical data like stock, with freezing on screen information for all time visibility for say Size, Color, Door in context will be a good start to approach this problem.
I am working on this solution myself and will update once I have a Fast UX proposal to act as generic guide for such use-case soon.
All I bringing on the table is that,
UX per say is way more than drawing some sketches or following a golden-bullet principle!
It has to adapt from context to context. The approach of discovery on other hand can be tried to be made uniform for a team.
And it is surely not about “remove click by replacing with hover or Gesture of Wink” 😉 😉
and again…the later I would personally love!! 😉
Happy UX Everyone!
Keep it effective!