Designing for the user: not as easy as it sounds!

As a UX intern, I got the chance to work with the UX team on in house research for Caplin Systems solutions and services.

Being involved with research designed to inform aspects of the UI of future products helped me realise how important, and also challenging it is to keep in mind the needs of the end user.  For complicated interfaces like the web trading platforms this is especially true. The information on screen can really be overwhelming if the design is wrong, and a user error could mean great financial loss, so making the right design decisions is critical for the product’s success or failure.

Caplin research covers multiple aspects of the user experience. The end users of the web trading platforms are always in the centre of the attention: There is always the need to learn more about them and support them with appropriate designs and functionalities.
As an intern I realized that identifying our user group is not an easy process, especially as traders are a more diverse group of people than they once were. Competition and confidentiality between traders means approaching end users and getting representative and accurate feedback requires lateral thought and creativity.  Understanding their needs, and approaching them in an appropriate way is important, because it provides us genuine insight on needs, wants and pain points. Only then can we decide how our products should evolve and how we can develop more efficient, appropriate solutions. That is the main difference of “designing for user needs” instead of “designing for new trends”.

Interviews with the end users, surveys, personas and online research are only some of the tools Caplin frequently use for this purpose. Each gives us different information, so we always have to be careful which tools we use each time. Usually, the use of more than one tool is required in order to gather reliable and sufficient data from our end users. It is also very important to keep in mind the diversity of our target group and make sure that the data we collect are truly representative of the largest proportion our end users.

The main projects I worked on as an intern focused on our end users’ needs. I realised how important it is to properly set up user testing research if it is to produce reliable results. It also became apparent to me in the course my research that even minor changes to the design can contribute to a completely different user experience. And that realization is one of the most valuable lessons I have learned the last months, which I intend to always keep in mind for my future career.

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