Your software product’s user experience encompasses many different elements.
All of these elements add together to help your users achieve maximum value from your software. Get this right, and you can grow your business faster!
While it’s important to implement strong marketing campaigns and have an excellent software sales process, what matters is the quality of the product. How users perceive and experience your product is essential. This is where the product user experience comes in.
This guide explains exactly what a software product user experience covers, and what principles your business should consider to improve its software product experiences.
What is Software Product User Experience?
Software product user experience (UX) is a broad term that refers to the feelings a user experiences when they use a piece of software, such as an app, service, or system.
User experience can cover, among others:
- How easy the software is to navigate
- How easy it is to understand and use the software
- The relevance of the content displayed in the software
- What the interface and general design of the software look like
- What type of interactions a user has with the software
A great software user experience ensures that your software helps the user achieve their goals in the best way possible. It’s also about ensuring that the user clearly understands your product’s design and purpose.
User experience considers every step and touchpoint a user has with a piece of software and looks at the entire experience from the user’s perspective.
If you sell software, you must understand every step a user goes through when using your software. Identifying any friction areas will help you refine the product for a better UX.
Why Your Software Product User Experience Matters
The overall purpose of user experience is to fulfill the end-user needs. So, if your software product offers an excellent user experience, it helps your users achieve what they want to achieve with the software.
A great user experience provides a positive experience for anyone that uses your software. This means your customers have a positive experience with your brand, which can help you boost customer referrals and retention.
When you investigate and improve your product’s user experience, you’ll also dive deeply into the customer journey. Providing a more meaningful software experience helps you define customer journeys with your product that best result in customer success.
Finally, first impressions are everything. By providing a positive user experience, you’ll improve the general perception of your brand. This can help you boost trust and loyalty around your brand. It will also help you get a leg up on your competition.
UI vs. UX – What’s the Difference?
To create a great software product user experience, it’s important to understand the differences between user interface (UI) and user experience (UX).
The user interface refers to what users see when they interact with your software product. This includes the dashboard, navigation, and buttons. The UI describes the look and feel of a software product. It’s what the user interacts and engages with to use the software.
User experience covers many more elements than just the UI. The entire user experience includes everything an end-user goes through related to the product. This includes steps taken before they use the product, as well as what they experience after using the software.
The user experience also covers how well the software fits into the user’s workflow, and how their interactions with the software change over time as their usage evolves.
It’s important to note that UI is a fundamental part of the UX, but it’s only one part of the bigger picture.
User Experience Design Principles You Should Apply
For creating a great software product experience, you’ll need to understand the different UX design principles and apply each principle to your product. This involves understanding the entire customer journey, and ensuring your software product offers the best possible experience throughout this journey.
A fundamental part of this is understanding the value proposition of your software. Know what type of value the end user aims to achieve with your product, and make this value achievable and easy to understand for the user.
Here are some of the key UX principles you should know about.
User-centricity is all about putting the needs of the user first.
A good software product should solve the users’ problems. This should be achieved relatively easily. By making your software user-centric, the user should be able to instantly understand how the product will help them achieve their goals.
Making your software user-centric involves understanding the specific needs of the user and their pain points, and identifying what steps they need to take to solve their problems using your software.
Focus on what’s best for your users. Ensure that each step the user takes, from discovering your software to achieving results with it, is aligned with user goals and desires.
You must maintain consistency across software platforms to help you provide a more seamless customer journey.
Consistency in UX can include how the software looks and functions across different pages or screens. Consistency can also refer to how users expect your software to work based on similar software platforms.
Your goal should be to provide a consistent and smooth user experience. Users must be able to easily understand and navigate your product.
Hierarchy is a user experience principle that dictates how easy or complicated your software navigation process is.
The basic idea is that your most important navigational elements are at the top of the page and are the most visible. Less important elements appear lower down. Visual hierarchy like this plays a major role in how users navigate and use your software products.
Test out your software product and pay attention to how you navigate the platform. Does the navigation make sense and is there a clear system of hierarchy that you follow?
If you find that certain elements or navigational buttons are difficult to find and access, you may want to change up the visual hierarchy in the platform.
In software product user experience, context refers to how someone will use the product.
Under which circumstances will the software be used? What factors might affect how users engage with your software?
Understanding what kind of environment and setting users will be in when accessing the software will help you create a more convenient, suitable product. Ideally, this will involve testing the software product in a range of different environments to ensure it offers a consistently good user experience.
User control helps users perform the actions they want and gives them freedom when using the product. This can include providing options for users to reverse or correct errors without affecting their experience.
The more control you give users, the more they can achieve with the software. So, ensure every user has the power they need for a positive experience with your software. If their journey has any limitations or brick walls, it will impact the UX.
Accessibility means that your software product is accessible and usable by as many different people as possible. This can include catering to the needs of people with disabilities, people who speak different languages, or people in different environments.
Ensure the platform is intuitive, visually easy to grasp, and offers features that everyone can engage with.
Finally, and possibly most importantly, a software product with a great UX needs to have good usability.
Usability simply refers to how easy the product is to understand and use. This involves removing complications or areas of friction in the product to make sure it helps users achieve their desired goals as efficiently as possible.
User Experience Best Practices for Your Software Product
User experience encompasses the entire customer journey, so there’s a lot that goes into optimizing it in your software products.
The user experience is a multidisciplinary field, and UX experts need to have diverse backgrounds.
When you focus on your software’s user experience, you’ll need to understand:
- Best practices in visual design
- Human psychology and how it relates to your customer’s product usage
- Interactive design
You’ll also need to stay on top of all the latest trends in your industry and understand how you can create a user experience that competes with other brands. User experience also involves understanding possible limitations that humans face and working around this to create a more accessible product.
Here are some of the main steps and tactics you’ll need to cover when creating a great software user experience.
Create Customer Personas
One of the first, and most essential aspects of designing a positive user experience is understanding your customers.
The better you understand your customers, the better you’ll be able to optimize your software product and brand experience around their needs.
Start by creating customer personas for your different users. Ideally, this should cover users from your different target audience segments. Consider the following information when creating these personas:
- The user’s pain points and desires
- The user’s tech knowledge
- The user’s online habits and behaviors
- Why the user needs your software
This will help you implement a user experience that better matches each segment of your target audience.
Design an Interactive Prototype
Designing prototypes is an essential part of creating a great software product user experience.
Make sure that you test your prototype as much as possible before launching the product.
This involves understanding the different contexts and use cases your users will have, and making sure your software product matches each case. The more you test and optimize the product, the better the end result will be.
Updating Your Product
Software user experience is a never-ending journey. Even if your product ticks all of the right boxes, your users’ needs are probably changing all of the time. This means you should be constantly re-evaluating, testing, and updating your product.
One good practice here is to ask your users about their experiences and gather feedback from them. Understand where they’re achieving success with your product and where they’re experiencing challenges. This will help you enhance the user experience for better results.
It’s also important to stay up to date with your competitors and industry trends. This will help you deliver a product that maintains a strong position in the marketplace.
Consider the Entire Customer Experience
Your software product user experience is typically focused on the software itself. While this is important, it’s also important to consider the entire journey a customer has with your brand.
Every touchpoint contributes to the user experience, so you should think about all interactions customers have with your product when optimizing this.
Map out your customer journey and identify the different stages of this journey. For example, your software product sales demo is a key moment in the customer’s journey with your product.
Do you provide any after-sales support to enhance customer retention? These questions are important!
Every person in your organization should consider the user experience. Even if their role is not directly related to the development of the software product, they can still shape the customer’s experience in some way.
There’s a lot that goes into a positive software user experience. Consider how users interact with your product, the steps they take leading up to using your software (like pre-sales), and what results they use your software for!
When assessing and optimizing your software’s user experience, it’s important to take the principles above into consideration. Most importantly, stress test your software so that you fully understand what your users go experience.
One way to elevate the user experience is by providing a personalized demo of your software product. Saleo is a top-tier sales demo tool that’s not to be missed!