Why and how we built Mazen
The goal of User Experience is to study how people feel when the use a given object. This object can be a thing or a software, or even a service. User Experience appears in the 2000s and is part of what is called human-centered design.
UX was very important to us when we developed Mazen. Our mission is to help SEO specialists’ save time. One of the way to help these professional save time is to create an interface where everything is intuitive, and where each feature is easily accessible at the moment you need it. UX was also very important because SEO specialists spend a lot of time (sometime most of their day) on various SEO software. We wanted Mazen interface to feel clear, un-cluttered and peaceful.
A good UX has obviously a lot to do with the visual design of the application, but not only. UX is something that we tried to keep in mind at each step of Mazen’s development.
Here are some of the UX lessons we learned while designing Mazen. This process has yet to be improved, but we though it could be useful to share our experience.
Lesson 1: Get to know your users
The first part of this process was to really get to know and understand our users – real users, not the fantasy users developers or CEOs tend to imagine sometimes.
The best way we found to do that was to listen to them. We did hundreds of interview with SEO specialists and ask them question about their daily lives: what was their workflow, how many time they spend on each tasks, how the documents and software they use every day looked like, what they liked and disliked about their job.
The hard part when asking these kind of question is to avoid influencing the user. The interviewer must be really careful not to ask closed question or suggest ideas to the users.
Lesson 2: Find the real pain points behind these testimonials
Once we collected all these insights, we had to really understand the pain points behind them. The goal is to find the why behind each feedback. It is easy to find a quick fix to an issue, but you can bring much more value to your users if you take a step back to really understand the full picture.
Lesson 3: Involve your users in the development
Once you collected the testimonial form your users and analyze them to start designing your application, it is really easy to lose the user’s point of view. Moreover, you can get new insights when confronting users to a real product, even if it is just a clickable mockup.
User tests is the best way to make sure that you develop something really valuable, and that users will really enjoy using. The goal of user testing is to put a user in front of your app or a prototype of your app, and watch them interact with it.
The good news is that there is no need to obtain massive amounts of data to start seeing pattern. With only 5 users testing your prototype you will notice patterns and know which part of the app should be improved or designed differently.
Lesson 4: Work with short iterations
This point is really linked with the previous one. If you want to be able to test your app with real users and adapt it accordingly to the results of the tests, you have to work with short iterations. This means that developers should adopt an agile workflow, and try to have regularly something to show to the team and the users.
Lesson 5: Make sure the whole team works together and speaks the same language
If you want the user experience to be a perfect as possible, you need your whole team to work with the user’s needs in mind. This is possible only if all members team communicate and understand each other.
A very good exercise is to gather the entire team – developers, product owners, stakeholder, customer success team – around one or multiple design sprints.
The kind of sprint has two goals:
- Create the architecture of the application, or work on a specific topic.
- Nudge people with various background to work and speak together, so they can speak the same language and adopt each other’s point of view.
Lesson 6: Nether stop learning
We applied these principles when creating Mazen, and we hope that users will have a remarkable experience when using it. But we know that Mazen isn’t perfect and we need to keep listening to our users to improve it. So, what are your suggestions?