The level of user experience effort that is practical for a given release depends, to some extent, on the type of release—that is, whether it is a major release, a minor release, or an update. Table 1 provides a summary of guidelines for the UX effort that is recommended for each type of release.
Table 1—UX effort guidelines by type of release
|Type||Release ID||UCD Recommendations|
New Products or Major Releases
For major releases, you must ensure UX designs for new features are effective, efficient to use, and delightful to customers and users. Conduct user research as necessary to ensure you have a deep understanding of your target customers and users. Validate your product’s workflows with target customers and users. Develop user experience designs that support the market, business, and customer needs. Conduct usability tests with users to ensure ease of use. Work closely with Development to ensure design integrity.
For minor releases, if time and resources permit, ensure new features adhere to industry-standard best practices. Validate your product’s workflows with SMEs, Development, customers, and users, as necessary. Develop your user experience design, along with business use cases. Conduct usability tests with target customers and users. Work closely with Development to ensure design integrity.
If an update includes revisions to one or more features to solve known usability issues, ensure those features adhere to industry-standard best practices, if time and resources permit. Validate workflows with SMEs, Development, customers, and users, as necessary. Iterate your user experience designs, as necessary. Conduct usability tests or reviews with target customers and users. Work closely with Development to ensure design integrity.
Each company must determine their user experience investment, depending on the size of their company, the maturity of their market, and the lifecycle of their product solution. User experience is the key to designing elegant products, establishing distinct competencies, and winning markets. Companies in mature markets must consistently get this right to maintain their leadership, while companies in new, fast, and innovative markets must be agile, adapt rapidly, and adopt accelerated usability methods.
Ultimately, it is up to your company to decide how much user experience effort makes sense in support of its overall business strategy. Many large companies have made heavy investments in user experience for years, but smaller companies must balance user experience investment against other demands on corporate resources.
This blog series is based on the article Winning in the Marketplace: How Much User Experience Effort Does It Take?