The User Experience in Online Architecture

Companies hire the top graphical designers and user interaction specialist to think and design from an user perspective in order to create an optimal user experience. Specialist who live their working lives thinking from the outside in, placing the user central for a single channel customer journey or complex cross channels experiences. While thinking from the outside in is considered key in creating long lasting customer lifecycles, this stand in large contrast with the IT behind the experience. Where traditional software architecture has its place, user experience centric online architectures will need take a flight in upcoming years. Not only is agile taking over IT, it’s also taking over architecture.

A different way of thinking

An important online architecture principle is the notion that software and software architecture is about users, persons, humans. Current tendency is to limit ourselves to (paying) customers, but inside the user experience of online architecture this includes resellers, company employees, our IT staff that works on development and maintenance, and any other user involved. Enabling our employees with great software, will allow them to service your clients better. Enabling our IT to develop faster and better and more flexible will increase a companies ability to follow trends and launch competitive features.

In order to achieve this the user centric architecture thinking is not merely about software, but focuses strongly on processes, measuring them and and continuously improving them. It’s about blending channels. Why should our employees work with hideous interfaces while we where focusing on the internet user, only because we are overlooking the fact that online user experience design and development in it’s core is channel ignorant, but user centric.

This in contrast to ordinary software design that tends to focuses on system stability, inflexibility and trying to be future proof by casting predefined processes in iron, unless a certain use case is to explicitly include configurability or flexibility.

So where do we start?

If we consider that we could take the more the user centric approach we have been using for our internet website and mobile channels and transfer it to our other IT systems to service our employees and retailers, we might actually first need to strongly consider dropping the view that they even exists such a thing as intranet and internet as different channels. We should start by velvet wrapping the silo’s which are nice for organizational purposes but service no good from the outside in user centric view. Our focus should be to not only start blending not only opened and closed (non secure / secure) we see at the outside, but including open, closed, intranet, extranet to achieve the unified user experience that expresses our company. Because as with company statements and slogans like “People matter, results count” can be learned: they only truly count if the effort is taken to apply them outside as well as inside the organisation with a equal strength. I strongly believe the same goes for user experience and the online architecture that enables us.

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