A few months back I was working on designing an e-Commerce portal for a client which would connect farmers in villages to hyper local delivery conglomerates in cities. Clearly, there are two distinct user personas to be served, First the uneducated, less tech-savy farmers in villages whereas second are professional tech-savy users. The goal of farmers would be to list the products they are selling and the price at which they are selling. They would also want to do all the financial transactions through this portal. On the other side the goal of the delivery businesses was to buy the listed products and assure delivery of the products facilitating the transaction.
The entire problem was very interesting and pretty challenging. So after weeks of user research doing affinity mapping, user interviews, task flows etc. I came up with a wireframe for the portal. The wireframes were then converted mid-high fidelity prototypes for doing usability testing. After incorporating all the insights from usability testing, I came up with a pretty good UX for the portal which helped the users to achieve their goals with delight. I made sure that they found out everything they are looking for right where they are looking for and the product turned out to be highly usable for both the user personas.
Once I was done with the final UI for the portal, I was presenting it to my clients in their board room which has nice wooden arts carved on to the walls of the room. I was excited about the entire presentation and I was proud of myself being able to achieve great results. The entire presentation went pretty well and I was able to convince the majority of audience that this is the best solution for the e-commerce portal they are looking for. But all of a sudden as I was about to end my presentation with myself on top of cloud nine, a young lady who was VP of their sales and marketing division said
“Ok it works very well and solves the purpose, but we don’t really see a WOW factor here which could amaze our users”
and I was like
Fortunately, I was ready for this and I always made this my habit to go to such meetings with a backup solution. My backup solution was very contrasting with the solution I proposed and had all the fancy animations, colourful icons and pop ups. I then took this as an opportunity to showcase my other solution. The same marketing lady then said, yeah this is really cool with all the animations and images why not use this solution? Then I showcased my usability testing results for both the solutions and the one with the wow factor confused the majority of the users falling in the farmer persona. Post which, all the members in the meeting agreed to go with the solution I presented first taking some aspects of solution B incorporated in it.
The question which arises here is are businesses, product commissioners aware about how to capture the power of design in creating value for their businesses rather than to make it look ‘beautiful’? It also makes an important point about giving feedback towards a design, feedback should be such that it avoid all the vague terms like ‘WOW’, ‘beautiful’, ‘catchy’, ‘exciting’. Feedback should majorly focus on whether or not the solution solves the problem of the users and how can we improve the solution to give users a seamless experience.