The reason that we are obsessed with user experience
One customer asked me: “tell me in one sentence, why are you guys so obsessed with user experience”? And I answered. “Do you remember the old mobile phones? Would you replace your smartphone with an old phone? Both of them make phone calls and in both of them you can go online”. It is not different when we choose software for our business. When you choose software with an awful user experience, it has wide impact on your business, and on your ability to compete in a highly dynamic and competitive market. In order to explain that, let’s take a step back.
The history of user experience:
User experience is a term that was born at the beginning of the 20th century as part of the growing number of interactions between machines and humans. At the end of the 20th century, the computation revolution started to accelerate. This revolution created a situation where every human has endless interactions with machines and computers. This revolution defined the term user experience. Today, we use the term “user experience” in order to emphasize the values and the experiences that a certain user produces from a machine; before, during and after he / she uses it. In other words, we put the human in the center and not the machine.
So what does it mean: “user experience”?
Without discussing too complicated academic details, user experience starts with understanding the context in which the user uses your product. Then, you must understand your user’s profile (including the organization profile). Finally, the product functionalities must meet the customer needs. For example, if the user needs to cook food (customer need), and he is a backpacker (the context he uses your product), then you need to provide him with a cooking device that is mobile. In the travel industry, we encountered many management systems / software. But they are so unfriendly that in order to use these systems you need to have a PhD in information systems. We also found systems that provide features that do not meet the user need and do not reflect the user cases that exist in the market. So, user experience is a very pragmatic issue: understand your user profile, understand how and when he uses your product, and finally, make sure that he produces value by using your product.
So how do we implement the user experience in Apex:
- When we started this project, we created an enormous number of sketches and tested them on real users before writing a single line of code. Additionally, we interviewed senior employees alongside junior employees who often don’t receive enough attention in such cases. We received priceless feedback from them, and we understand the users’ profile and their needs.
- We simplified complicated processes. One of the techniques that we used was testing the software (Apex) on users that do not have any connection to the travel industry. We wanted to know if they will be able to use the software without prior training. According to their feedback we simplified processes such as the reservations the itinerary construction.
- We counted every click in the system, so users will be able to achieve more- with less efforts. We conducted a comparison with one of our competitors. Apex saved over 70,000 clicks over one season only for the reservation process.
- We eliminated repeatable work. One of the most annoying jobs is to do the same action over and over again while a competitor can do this job faster and more accurately.
- Make data accessible in the right place at the right time even though the user did not specifically request the information (the context that the user needs this data). For example, we provide financial information for the itinerary creator in real time alongside product quality indicators.
- Performing an action without interrupting the train of thoughts: An average daily routine of a tour operator is full of changes, since customers want to make changes. These changes have a wide impact on suppliers, clients, employees, costs, pricing and more. Our system can track all these changes automatically in a dedicated zone. This feature reduces significantly your operations costs, errors, and enhances clients’ satisfaction and more.
- Efficient collaboration: The work process in the travel industry usually requires collaboration of a few employees and contractors. Passing information accurately requires coordination that entails “communication costs”. Any action in Apex is automatically synchronized with all the parties.
Our main mission is to enable organizations to make and execute fast and sharp decisions. For us, user experience is a tool to achieve this goal. A business in the travel industry that uses old software loses money and may go out of the business, since it spends more time on sending an offer to a customer, more time to execute operations, has no access to important business insights, and is prone to make more errors, detrimental to customer satisfaction.
Want to hear more about our user experience? Contact us here.