A lot of people are now looking at five-star reviews to gather opinions about a product before making a purchase. Whenever we go to the App Store or Play Store, we rely on the ratings that are conveniently presented to us via the five-star range ratings. Multiple 4 or 5-star ratings gives us the impression that the product is worth purchasing and if your product is on the other end of the spectrum, then your chances of being purchased are greatly diminished. Especially for apps, these star ratings are mostly driven by opinions of previous buyers and their impressions of how the app measures up to their expectations. They are the reflection of the customer emotions and feelings that they get from the app. For app developers, it is ultimately how the work is judged. So, how do we ensure that we build our apps in such a way that we’ll get positive 5-star reviews? Perhaps CX-First Approach is the key.
What is CX-First Approach?
CX stands for Customer Experience. It is also known as User Experience (UX), User-Centered Design, Product Design or Emphatic Design. It is the customer’s experience, emotion, intuition and connectivity when interacting with the product. Therefore, CX-First Approach is a manner of designing your product in such a way that your primary purpose is to provide the customer an intuitive, efficient and engaging experience. Simply put, design the product to be enjoyable and effective.
The CX-First Approach is meant to be a team activity although a large part of this responsibility lies with the UX Designer. It is also important to note that for apps, speed and performance is a major factor so contribution from Architects or Developers are essential.
How do you practice the CX-First Approach?
First of all, the time to begin practicing the CX-First Approach is at the very beginning of the product lifecycle. When you are ready to determine the product features and functionality, that is the time you start the CX-First Approach.
Know your Customer
Before you can build your product, you need to know your customers first. Find out how they are going to use your product and learn potential obstacles that they will encounter in using your product. Determine the problem that you are solving, identify the “pain points” and pay close attention to their goals and all the actions that they make in performing the tasks. Not all customers are the same so catalog all the different personas (imaginary yet realistic descriptions of your customers) so you can identify the various attributes that your customers possess. This is the foundation from where everything is going to be built on.
Map the Customer Experience
This is where you begin to explore and document the real-world interactions your customers will make with your product. Use what you learned about your customers in identifying the different steps they need to take in performing their tasks. Resist the urge to interject your own opinions as they may not align with what your customers’ goals. Do not hesitate to go back and ask your customers if you’re unsure about something. Getting it right the first time will pay dividends.
Design the User Interactions
This is perhaps the most popular task among UX Designers; create the visual and interaction design of the customer experience. Take all the things you’ve learned from the customers and their interactions with your product and put them to good use. Use the personas to constantly remind you of your customers and their various attributes. Remember to make it intuitive, efficient and engaging. Do not be afraid to explore different possibilities and think outside-the-box. Engage with technical resources such as Architects and Developers to ensure that the designs can be implemented in such a way that speed and performance is not compromised. Make an impact but not at the expense of customer experience. Remember, it needs to align with the customer goals and it should eliminate their pain points. This is also the time when you create all the necessary artifacts that the development team needs to build the product such as mockups, style-guides, prototypes etc. Be exacting and don’t leave room for developers to make assumptions.
Partner with the development team as they build the product. Adjustments and additions are almost always a part of the development process so UX Designer support is necessary.
Aesthetics, speed, performance and innovation are hallmarks of a well-built app. It has been the goal of app developers to provide these to their customers since the beginning of time. Even with the best intentions in mind, most fall short of truly providing great customer satisfaction and the five-star ratings has become the latest tool by which the customers can manifest their opinions. The idea of giving what the customer want is not a novel one. It is an issue with execution that hopefully the CX-First Approach will help resolve. In the end, always putting the customers’ interests first and foremost deserves a 5-star rating and if you do it right, you just might get one.