UX Matters #1: Introducing WHY user experience matters at CA

By Legacy User posted May 27, 2015 03:51 PM


Welcome to the new UX Matters Blog. This blog will include information on UX matters (software, processes, best practices and so forth) as well as WHY UX matters!

Each month, I’ll post a brief article about some aspect of user experience and why those aspects matter—to you the customer, to you the developer or product manager and to those of you who sell to and support CA products. Have a question? Feel free to post.


Think about a time when you were trying to accomplish a task on a web site or in some software program and you just couldn’t complete the task. We’ve all been there.


What did you see? Did you get an incomprehensible error message? Did you end up in an endless loop?


What did you do? Did you quit in frustration? Call the help desk?


What did you feel?


Chances are, you experienced some frustration, the level dependent on how important it was to you to complete the task at hand. If you completed a long form and something happened all of your entries disappeared, that would be very frustrating.  What if you were completing some work… and were on a deadline?!


Over the last twenty years, we’ve seen a move from engineering software and web sites to designing them. This new focus came to light in Alan Cooper’s Book “The Inmates are Running the Asylum” about the lack of purposeful design of electronic products. The more poorly designed products, the more the frustration.


The profession that we now know as User Experience emerged from the fields of Human Factors and Industrial Psychology—where practitioners used what they learned by observing and understanding how pilots worked in cockpits, and other professionals worked with complex systems.


As the field evolved, it was often known as Usability, focusing on making products that were more usable. The focus shifted to understanding how users work in their environments, as well as better understanding those environments, and then involving the users in the design of the products through prototype testing (in progress as the product was being developed) and usability testing—a process where the users conduct typical tasks on the new product. These users are observed to determine if there are problems with the product, not the user.


We’ve come a long way from these early processes of involving users in what we call user-centered design (UCD), one of the tools in the UX toolkit in the effort to make better products.


Next month, I’ll talk about UX in the software development process.


Elisa Kaplan Miller is a User Experience Advocate at CA Technologies on the Central UX team. She is an enterprise UX thought-leader with focus on agile integration and other issues in the enterprise arena. A long time user advocate, she is passionate user-experience architect / user research specialist with broad experience in user experience research, content strategy, information architecture, and technical training. Her professional toolbox contains many techniques for conducting quantitative and qualitative research for better understanding users. For last 19 years, she has provided the strategic link between business, marketing and technology.