How user experience is key when designing for productivity

Designing mobile forms for SMS marketing

From the perspective of a user experience designer, designing for productivity requires more than making things look pretty. Knowing what you want to be achieved, what technology you are building on, and an appreciation for who the end users are, and what devices they are using, all play an important part. Here at Textlocal, the challenge is to design our products for optimal experience on a multitude of devices. Not everyone is going to be at their desk all of the time when sending their text messages. Hey, we’re a mobile company, we’ve got to look out for smartphones and tablets as much as we do desktops.

Productivity for us is key to how our users see and use our interfaces. We take a logical approach to the problem creating a simplified process; how do you get from A to C whilst minimising the time spent at B. We don’t all have 20 minutes to send a text message, make a mobile web page or manage our groups. Minimising the time spent at B however doesn’t mean that we take out what makes us stand out from the crowd. When sending a text message, we integrate all of the tools we provide to our customers at the final stage. We let you build your Mobile Pages, Contact Groups and much more beforehand and then integrate them into the message at the end. Breaking up the interface into multiple parts helps the user learn our simple interfaces in small chunks. This makes our services easy to use and not too overwhelming for a novice!

Mobile form option selectsWhen going through the design phase of making a new product we take the approach that the interface we design for the desktop should work on a mobile too. It takes more time to do, but the result is a more intuitive design that our customers can learn quickly and will help them to be far more productive on both mobile and desktop.

We support this through testing and demonstrating our products to users. We use focus groups, testing labs and through limited beta releases before we fully launch a new product or feature. We feel it is this approach that has won us industry awards for innovation.

From listening to our customers, and through usability testing, we have changed our approach to how we are developing a new set of upcoming products. We are utilising time saving technology that will save all of the data that you are working on live. No saving, reloading, loading, updating or checking your work across multiple devices. Every change you make, we save, update  live and so show you the changes immediately. Compare this to every time you save something online; it often takes 5-10 seconds to receive the response. An example of this feature can be seen when making a mobile web page. You could potentially spend up to an average of 10 minutes saving, loading and waiting for amendments to be saved.  However, because of the way we have built our system for the customers ease of use you could potentially only spend a minute waiting for doing the same tasks; small numbers truly make a big difference.

Here at Textlocal, our technical and design teams work hand in hand. We are lucky to have an open ethos where design, technology and usability work in concert with each other. This is backed up by having the common goal of creating products and services that work intuitively for our customers. You can build amazing tools, but if they are not intuitive to use, they will have a negative impact on productivity. Our goal is for people to not notice the technology behind the tools. The less people think about how a system works, the more productive they will be.

Come and listen to us talk about our passion for innovation through technology at Marketing Week Live on the 27th of June 2013.