Leading software companies are increasingly turning to user experience experts to ensure their product is enjoyable and easy to use. We look at user experience in more detail to better understand why it matters and how it benefits users.

User Experience (UX) vs User Interface (UI)?

In simple terms, UX is primarily associated with how the product feels. For example, does the software make a user feel relaxed or frustrated? Do they find it easy to use, or do they struggle? Can they navigate the software quickly and is there flow, or is it time consuming? These are some of the key user experience factors to consider when designing software.

UI on the other hand is just one aspect of the overall UX and visually communicates the path of the UX. It is primarily associated with how the product is laid out. A quality UI would mean a clean consistent design, and a structure that lets users access the features they need as easily as possible.

Why is UX so important for software used in the social care sector?

One of the main benefits of a user centred design approach for the social care sector is the boost to productivity that can be derived from software with a clean and simple design. By allowing users to navigate the system with minimal clicks, workers have more time to focus on what they do best; providing high quality care. These benefits are particularly felt by users who don’t have a lot of experience with computers, as more intuitive software requires less training.

How do you know which elements of functionality and design are most important to users?

It’s important to never make assumptions about what functionality users want or how they will use it. Talking to clients, stakeholders and internal team members helps to inform decisions around functionality, positioning and design. Rather than simply watching a user navigate a system you can learn far more from an in depth series of questions which allow you to dig deeper into the users key drivers and perceptions.

What is iCareHealth’s approach to UX?

iCareHealth have increased the focus on the UX of our software in line with user requirements. We use a structured approach to engaging with our end users through a variety of techniques. Our existing implementations and training engagements are utilised to collect input from those end users who are new to the software. We also hold user forums to gain insight and feedback from existing users as well as looking closely at support queries and regular client surveys to analyse correlations with the UX and UI. The UX was a significant focal area for the development team for our latest release of Care and Clinical (Version 4). The main UX priorities were to enhance the top level navigation and update the visual design to offer a modern and clean feel. Having a simple top level navigation is so important, because it makes everything easy to find, and ensures daily work processes are streamlined.

Another important UX priority for our latest Care and Clinical release was ‘touch screen capability’, so it can be used on a variety of tablet devices. The design has been specifically engineered to fit the screen of tablet devices, to accommodate touch interactions, and to ensure it can be easily read and used on the go.

As technology continues to change the way social care providers deliver care and manage their overall business operations, it is important to develop powerful solutions functionally, and also consider UX in the design and workflow to deliver products that are intuitive and appealing to the end user.

 Which UX features do you feel are most important for software in the social care sector?