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How do we ensure that user experience is addressed appropriately when designing processes?

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From Scott Menter, how do we ensure that user experience is addressed appropriately when designing processes?

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  • Information architects are at the table with the process design ones when doing requirements elicitation and specification with the END-user, period, end of story, 'nuff said.

    OTR, good usability people are hard to come by though. Rarely seen it (like so many other things) done well.

    - out

  • It is a matter of matching expectations with budget and with skilled user experience (UX) designers and custom developers.

    A certain amount of usability can be baked in to the process and the client apps just based on the experience of the process analyst / designer. But for really strong UX, especially in demanding environments, budgeting sufficient time for a UX designer and a significant additional amount of customized software development to match is the only way high levels usability can be achieved.

    Actual real life use of a system will highlight areas where process design best practices and usability may work against one another. Therefore budgeting for an iterative development model will ensure that the users are not stuck with the first pretty wireframe that was put into code.

    Bear in mind that the prettiness of many modern websites has set expectations of users and customers at a highly expensive level. Managing this is an art.

  • There is no other way than explicitly considering user experience and interaction design as a first class citizen, together with the business process modeling.
    That's the core of our approach in WebRatio (http://www.webratio.com), which combines BP modeling (in BPMN) with user interaction modeling (according to WebML/IFML, the upcoming OMG standard on Interaction Flow design).
    Appropriate model transformations and quick prototyping facilities grant that business-level designs are always aligned with user interaction designs that implement them.
    This grants impressive advantages in terms of: speed of delivering the solutions, as well as ease of understanding and usage by customers.

  • Thanks for the plug, Peter. :)

    I've often found that UX is addressed either superficially (“this screen needs to match our corporate color scheme”), or not at all. Alternatively, sometimes a customer will be so devoted to UX that they'll hire web UX consultants, who will design lovely, clever screens that—oops!—turn out to be difficult to replicate using the form builder.

    So, the reason I asked the question is to determine if anybody has found an approach that pays due attention to UX requirements while staying within the bounds of the controls and features offered by the BPMS form builder.

  • My take is twofold:

    To get good design you have to:
    1. use real design talent. A UX/UI designer. We work with one in-house and are pushing harder every month to get customers to adopt that practice. At a minimum to make interfaces look more inviting to use, and ideally to make them more effective.

    2. test your design in the real world and be willing to iterate.

    If you don't test, you don't know. What do we mean by test? Playbacks for users before designs are completely implemented, field-testing with pilot groups, frequent turns on the development. Because design is all about getting the requirements right, and normal people do not know how to communicate "design" language to designers.

  • I see two aspects to this question.
    First is ensuring users are involved in the design with no limitations in thinking. This will be a novel experience for them with decades of ”IT” imposed "solutions" as either COTS or custom coded. However when within days they see their ideas coming to life users will quickly take ownership; feel empowered and confident about future changes.
    The second has to be with the user interfaces that are easy to use and present all information required for that user and they only need to enter new information only once on that form (e.g. use of intelligent ajax grids) and within the end to end process.

  • Two thoughts:

    1 - In BPMS projects, I fully agree with the need for a interaction designer/UX person. Typically, when implementing a BPMS, users come from a situation in which they used a number of systems - automated or manual, including paperfiles, etc. The switch to one applicatie interface will require a very thoughtfull designed user interface. This means: expertise on user interface design (and no, typical business analyst or BPM-engineers do usually to have these strengths, but often overrate their capabilities). It also required testing testing iterating testing. Various good techniques (observation, reflection, etc) are available. Interesting challenge is often balancing time, investment, and limitations of UI of BPM-Suites.

    2. What is interesting is that the answers provided do not really answer the question! "user experience is addressed appropriately when designing processes? "
    The user experience of a process is not only the BPMS application. In the customer journey and employee journey various channels and interactions will be needed. Design Thinking and Service Design are THE approaches to take this larger perspective: how to design processes that facilitate the optimal value creation and experience for customer, employee and organization.
    Do check out This Is Service Design Thinking....

  • Absolutely agree with Roeland. Not every process needs to be supported by a BPMS. But if you do, User experience is very important to create process engagement by the people who really have to do the job.

    Seen so many training sessions (I wasn't the trainer ;-) where users are educated on a BPMS and it's the first time they see it. Ages too late. That's bad project management of course, but also thought too toolish instead of process.

    In every process you have to think about how to support executors with the right tools and facilities to enable them to make the process perform.

    That's not only screens in a bpms, but also the availability of information, the possibility to ask for help, back up by colleagues etc.

    So user experience is indeed (like BPM) not only about BPMS.

    Ever asked a carpenter what he thought of that fancy screens in the BPMS?

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