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UI and UX: The two unsung heroes of software development

Business | February 23, 2023 | By Kausika Raajan Varatharaajan UI and UX design The two unsung heroes of software development

Recently, I visited a fast-food restaurant that’s well-known for its burgers, shakes, and fries. When I entered the restaurant, I spotted a newly installed kiosk. I understood that with the help of this kiosk, I could scroll through their menu, choose what I wanted, and even customize my order. All with simple touch and scroll actions. And once I’ve made my choice, the kiosk would direct me to a payment gateway where I can make payment. On successful payment, the order is placed.  When I tried it, it took me only a few minutes to do all of this without any help. All thanks to the kiosk’s simple design. It must’ve taken a lot of thinking through to arrange the elements on the screen so that the user gets it right the very first time! Such a human-centric approach to product development is called Design Thinking


Design Thinking, UI and UX 

Design Thinking is a human-centric approach to product development. It focuses on meeting the real needs of the product’s users. The goal is to develop software or any tech product that is easy to use in order to solve the user’s problems. Design thinking drives toward increasing the desirability of the product that is economically and technically feasible for the business. And it is one of the reasons why Google, Apple, and Amazon are so obsessed with their designs. Their focus on UI and UX design is a natural consequence of their approach which is grounded in design thinking.


What is User Experience (UX) Design?

UX design focuses on the user experience when they interact with the product – from start to end. 

UX design starts with understanding the problem the software product is trying to solve. And through thorough research and a deep understanding of the user, the designer determines how the product/feature should work. Thus, covering the needs as well as the wants of the intended user. 

There are five elements in UX design – strategy, scope, structure, skeleton, and surface. The teams work from the strategy layer, which is abstract, and move through the increasingly concrete layers to deliver the final product. Also, there are likely to be some overlaps between the layers. And the final layer, “surface”, is the UI design.    


What is User Interface (UI) Design?

UI design is a part of the UX design process. While UX caters to the overall form and function of the software product, UI caters to its aesthetics and more. It focuses on the selection of design elements, colors, font styles, spacing, etc. It enables the user to move through a workflow process through the use of all the design elements without much effort. Just like how the fast food kiosk was super intuitive in taking me through the order workflow. 

A UI designer provides users with visual clues that tell them what should be done next. For example, the “Proceed to pay” button that is highlighted once all the necessary payment-related details are filled in. 


UI and UX design is a must-have

Together, UI and UX designs play a vital role in developing a software product that meets the needs and wants of users, streamlines the process, and eliminates the need for manual intervention. And the absence of one makes the other useless. 

Also, poorly designed software extracts a lot of mental effort from users as they have to figure out what to do next. Also, training has to be extensive and exhaustive, which is a time-consuming process. This means the learning curve will be steep. Eventually, users might abandon the software. And the very purpose of building the software would be lost. 

Here are some of the benefits of having an effective UI/UX design:

Improves customer acquisition and retention

Software that is technically sound and aesthetically appealing is a winner. Users have an easy-to-use product that solves their problems. By identifying the needs of the core users and not just assuming them, the end result is a software experience that reaches the users’ hearts. Thereby, resulting in greater customer satisfaction. Because, in the end, people will only look at the overall experience and not the technology behind it. So, a well-rounded software improves customer acquisition and increases customer retention as well. 


Minimizes software development costs 

A common misconception is that investing in effective UI/UX design incurs a lot of costs. The truth is actually the opposite. Good UI/UX design saves time and money. 

An effective design transforms ideas into workflows. As a result, businesses can easily identify and address usability issues they may encounter before the software is developed. In the long run, it will ensure that the software is scalable, flexible, and easily maintainable. This helps avoid extensive and unexpected changes after developing the software, which will be far more expensive to fix. In fact, changes to requirements after the software is actually developed cost 100 times more. 


Improves the chances of successful Digital Transformation implementation

In the era of digital transformation, it is important for companies to jump on the bandwagon as fast as possible. Else, they will be left behind. And the main USP of digitally transforming a process with the help of software is that the software

    • Enables users to devote more time to strategic decision-making
    • Brings transparency to the process
    • Ensures data integrity and accountability and real-time data collection and analyses
    • Eliminates siloed working and fosters frictionless cross-functional collaboration 
    • Connects people and processes in the physical and digital worlds 

The list could be endless. But the starting point for all of these is well-designed and well-thought-out software. Workflows are streamlined when UI/UX designs are done correctly, taking into account the user persona. This saves a lot of time for the user, and like a domino effect, the positive impact increases.      


UI/UX design and Procurement Software

The benefits of well-designed software are there to see. While almost every function in the world is starting to or already reaping the benefits of using well-designed software; sourcing and procurement, especially in the Direct Material procurement space are left behind. But that ends now. 

Zumen Source-to-Pay is designed and developed keeping in mind the user persona and the complexities of direct material procurement. A pioneer in direct material procurement digital transformation, Zumen Source-to-Pay is grounded in design thinking that makes it agile and scalable. The software is recognized by ProcureTech 100 as a champion in the direct material procurement space. 

To know more about our software, you can schedule a free demo here, contact us at [email protected], or visit www.zumen.com

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