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People often ask me what I do, and it doesn’t exactly clear things up to say, “I help make the web less terrible.”
"User experience consultant" isn’t as self-evident as “break dancer” or “window washer.” So here are several of the ways a UX consultant and developer like myself can help your business succeed.
1. I can help you establish your new business.
One of my favourite things to do is to help a person get a business idea off the ground. There is a lot to consider: How to describe your services, which audiences to serve, what kind of clients you want to attract, how to go about actually doing the things you want to do for your clients, figuring out what to charge, planning for growth...
I can help you establish a strategy for your business so that you can begin to build confidence in your idea and in yourself.
2. I can help you understand your customers.
Chances are, you probably know quite a bit about your customers already. Spread amongst your organization’s departments and stakeholders is a wealth of knowledge. But quite often, teams are working without the full picture. When this happens, gaps in knowledge can result in mistakes, miscommunication, and missed opportunities.
I can help you fill in these gaps by conducting some targeted conversations with key members of your organization, by reviewing analytics, and by running surveys and user interviews.
This knowledge hunt can amass a significant amount of information — but it isn’t much help to anyone as an ominous stack of spreadsheets and documents. To make this information actionable, we can turn this information into visual reference tools, such as customer journey maps or empathy maps.
When you can visualize who your users are and what challenges they face, it is a lot easier to create services that will meet their needs.
3. I can review the effectiveness of your website.
As websites grow, they inevitably need tending to make sure they are still serving you and your customers properly. With over 10 years’ experience developing and analyzing websites in various industries, I can find ways to improve the performance and user experience for whatever audience you are targeting.
The main focus of a website review is to identify areas of improvement that will lead to greater customer satisfaction and an increase to your conversion rate. The resulting report will offer recommendations for resolving the most pressing problems that will bring about positive change in the short term.
4. I can help improve your customers’ experience.
Often when reviewing a website, I will identify usability issues which could be improved in a number of ways. When the best approach is not obvious, testing is required to determine the best course of action.
Creating prototypes allows us to explore different approaches to a problem in a fast and interactive way before going through the costly work of development. And then by inviting users and stakeholders to test the prototypes, it becomes a lot easier to determine which approach yields the best results.
Prototyping is a cycle of experimentation and discovery. Design a prototype, test it, study the results, adapt the design, test it again, study the results, etc...
Because prototyping is fast and lightweight, it can be quite fun to watch the results roll in and to witness the improvements.
5. I can help you lay solid plans for your digital service.
Many digital projects grind to a halt before they even have a chance to begin because the people involved become overwhelmed by the complexity of conflicting needs. Basically, it all comes down to an inadequate understanding of business processes:
Who does this new service serve? What are its main objectives? Who are all the people who need information from this service, and at what point in the process do they need it? What actions do they need to take, and when? How do we know when the process has completed successfully, and what happens next? What problems could result, and what kind of breakdown is caused if they do?
I can help you define your users’ needs by conducting stakeholder interviews and by examining the current business processes involved. We can then create the beginnings of a “service manual”, which isn’t so much a “how to use it” guide for the new service, but a description of roles and responsibilities which extend beyond the digital interface.
Quite often, prototyping is involved in the planning stages of a new digital service so that we can begin to visualize how the service will meet the stated needs.
The resulting documentation and prototypes form a “design specification”, which will guide the system’s development.
6. I can create design systems to bring consistency to your customers’ experience.
Different teams naturally develop their own methods for serving their customers. While enthusiasm and resourcefulness are good things, the customer’s experience can become fractured over time if each department goes its own way.
Instead, I can help you establish a design system to keep the customer experience consistent across your organization.
A design system is more than a pattern library or UI components. It also includes content style guides, design principles, and service manuals.
Together, these form a framework which enables everyone in your organization to fashion a consisten user experience.
7. I can develop custom web apps and websites to power your organization’s objectives.
If your business’s objectives and user needs can’t be met by existing platforms or services, it might be worth considering custom development.
Maybe you have a large audience of participants who need to perform very specific actions. Or maybe you need to ensure a high level of data sovereignty. Or you need to provide "tools", not just a place to market your brand.
Whatever the case, I can help you devise a solid development plan so that from database to interface, your mission comes first.
With over 10 years’ experience developing custom web apps and websites, I’m sure I can make a difference for you. Why limp along with haphazard solutions when you could be using tools uniquely built for the way you work?
Does this sound like the kind of help you need?
That about sums up what I do as a user experience consultant and developer. If you are facing some challenges, please get in touch. I’d be glad to hear what you’re working on, and to see how I might help.