Why Empathy? Being empathetic is having the ability to step into the shoes of another person, aiming to understand their feelings and perceptions. If the team fails to be empathetic or if it misreads the needs and expectations… The user's experience with the product won't be good. We must use the information that we get from talking to users. Hear their needs. Base our choices on that.
As a digital product agency, we create products for a living: web apps, mobile apps… Each client of ours is nothing like the other:
That being said, the final user of our products can be our clients directly or users of their products. Regardless, there’s one thing that we always have in consideration: having empathy for the user.
As we work with technology every day there can be a certain tendency to assume that everyone understands it, but not everyone has to be tech-savvy. Not everyone uses technology on a daily basis. So we make an extra effort for all our products to be as user-friendly and useful as possible.
All of our team members are aware of this gap and one of the processes we perform to guarantee that our message is understood is to ensure that the team working on the product is multi-faceted. Design, development, marketing and management are not opposing areas when it comes to digital product development. They are most often complementary areas so that the result of the process is a viable product. We intend to "build a bridge" between people and technology so that it adds value in practice.
It all starts at conception. At this early stage of the product, our designer, project managers and client work on establishing the needs, requirements, market and competition analysis. We know the importance of UX in products: they should first be functional and easy to use, and then, beautiful. Design works on this premise, for that reason we keep the user experience in mind at every step of the creation.
After the prototype development, there can be intermediate validation phases, either through wireframes or high fidelity layout, so that through user testing (interviews, heat maps, forms, etc) the optimal version can be found to move on to the next phase: development.
Having a validated prototype and detailed documentation optimizes software development significantly. The team knows what is expected of each functionality (for which we use user stories) and is able to implement the elements that make up the product without blockages. This allows us to have delivery deadlines that enable our customers to manage their expectations and act as needed. When we have a usable version we test it internally and later make it available for the client to test.
I am one of the members of the internal testing team, I am not an expert in terms of technology and that is exactly why I am part of the testing phase. I easily find flaws in flows and often report small details that were missed between design and development. For example, having the possibility to see the password I wrote in the login.
My participation helps us understand if, by making the product available to the customer for testing, he will be able to perform everything that was expected of his product.
At first, I felt that I didn't have the knowledge to perform this task, until I realized the value that these limitations of mine had. I am able to detect when the obvious fails. Today I feel much more capable and integrated in the process, so that the product is everything we set out to be: flawless.
Companies have been saying they’re user-centered for years. I believe it is something overused and it’s said more in the meaning that “it just looks good”. That’s why products are only successful when the team is considerate of the user from the beginning till the end.
After the product has gone through testing and bug fixing, it is made available to the customer for testing. Here I use the knowledge I gained in the performance tests to introduce the product to the customer, usually through a video call with screen sharing in which I do the most important actions step-by-step. Then the client has a test period to deepen his knowledge and detect errors. This step, in my opinion, is fundamental for the published product not to have errors from the business point of view, while my analysis manages to be more functional.
Companies have been saying for years that they are “user-centered”. It's important that their actions demonstrate that, and at Codepoint we work to convey that message in every product that passes through our hands.