Is Empathy for the User Driving Your Software Development Process?

  By  Phillip Dane  Director of Business Development projekt202

By Phillip Dane
Director of Business Development
projekt202

I have been in several application walkthroughs from three different organizations over the past few weeks. The key business leader to whom the applications were delivered showed me their view of the application, pointing out pain points and areas where their business unit employees simply can't use the application, as delivered.

In each of these cases, it's clear the user was not the focus of the application development, UX was not an initial consideration for success (beyond using the right colors and logos), and - most importantly - there was no leadership voice in the project (technology or business unit) with a loud message that UX = ROI.

Each of these applications will require an unfortunate, potentially expensive, un-budgeted "re-do" of the UI and UX. This is needed to make them useful and capable of driving the user adoption required of any enterprise application to meet the goals of the business case under which the application was originally greenlighted.

Though startups and organizations developing applications for external customers are certainly not exempt from the behavior, these examples are enterprise applications developed by internal IT teams.

There is thoughtful, progressive, and professional leadership (business and IT) in these organizations, and these applications are all "exceptions to the rule" of the portfolio of applications these groups have developed. It underscores the need for re-centering on the user when any enterprise application development is explored to address a business problem or opportunity.

I so appreciate the forthcoming business unit and technology leaders for exposing their pain and acknowledging the mistakes made. I am grateful for the opportunities to help them turn things around. I know I can help these companies, and these leaders, address the immediate opportunity to improve (here are some examples) -- and I hope I can help them understand the value of "empathy for the user" as a driving force in the development process.

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Read more about projekt202's work to help companies empathize with their customers and deliver better digital experiences:


projekt202 is the leader in experience-driven software strategy, design and development. We have a unique and established methodology for understanding people in context — we reveal unmet needs — which drives everything we do. This leads to a crisp, clear understanding of the customer, which shapes the design and development of new solutions and experiences. We have the expertise, teams, skills and scale to deliver sophisticated software solutions that improve any and all touchpoints across the user journey.

projekt202 has spent over 15 years bringing to life and to market compelling experiences through our Experience Strategy & InsightUser ExperienceSoftware DevelopmentMarketing & Analytics, and Program Management practices. Our talented team has delivered emotionally-rich and intuitive solutions for global brands and clients such as 7-Eleven, Capital One, Dell, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, Samsung Electronics, Neiman Marcus, and The Container Store, among many others.

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