SameX: How Persistent creates United Experiences using Design Thinking

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User experience. It’s something you may be hearing a lot now, and there’s a reason for that; it’s what’s differentiating companies who are embracing digital from those who are stuck in yesterday’s paradigm. As COO of Persistent Systems, I have the opportunity to meet with top executives at many of our clients. As more and more look to go digital, or undertake a Digital Transformation, user experience and Design Thinking are two key components of the foundation for that. Allow me to explain using an example of something I hear in some variation repeatedly:

 “When I see a BMW, even from a distance, I know it is a BMW. And although there are dozens of models, when you drive them, you get a similar feel and experience… Why can’t this happen to the products that my company creates and sells?”

 “Our clients are doctors and we have these six products that they use. But each looks and works in an entirely different way. This is so inefficient. I am sure if we could have a common set of behaviors, it will make our clients much more efficient and happy. Additionally, it will save huge costs of development for me as well”.

 “If I have used Microsoft Word, I already know one-fourth of Microsoft PowerPoint. Also, I do not need any tutorials if someone recommends Microsoft OneNote and I need to start using it today. I wish this was true for the products that my company develops”.

As a BMW driver, the first part hits home with me in particular, but it all sounds familiar, right? So why is this?  Here are a couple of scenarios that may cause this:

  1. Multiple products for one organization have been developed in silos and hence do not have a UX that is united and they do not convey a consistent brand value that the organization stands for
  2. Product portfolio is a mix of ‘developed in-house’ and ‘acquired’, resulting in disjointed experiences

One important thing here is that we are not really talking of an exactly uniform experience (like the experience at McDonald’s which is the same across all outlets). The key is creating “united and not uniform” experience. This is because every product is created to solve a unique problem. As someone puts it, it is about experiences that ‘work together, work the same and work for users’.

We understand this at Persistent and our team headed by Nitin Urdhwareshe has created a solution that addresses exactly similar needs. We call it SameX (Same Experience).

 SameX: An experience design framework

SameX leverages the fact that in order to design a united experience, we need to create one UX framework that can be used to create multiple product experiences. This framework typically consists of:

  1. Overarching design principles
  2. Business patterns
  3. Interaction patterns
  4. Components
  5. Layouts
  6. Style guide

When designers work on the SameX project, they ensure that:

  • Overarching principles are articulated and used during the design of all of the products
  • The business patterns are defined and used consistently across multiple products
  • Interaction patterns, layouts and the components are created (or adopted) with a view that these will be reused across multiple products
  • A style-guide, consistent with the brand is created and used across the products

In the above, everything except principles is a tangible artifact and all these together become the experience framework. This is a living framework that is always evolving. This is also used when newer business processes are added in the existing product, again maintaining a united experience. This works broadly as follows:

SameX and Design Thinking

Problem solving and experience design must happen through a Design Thinking process. The process of understanding “What is”, ideating around problem solving, finalizing what will WOW the users, moving ahead with “What Works” in terms of desirability, feasibility & viability, and iterating through these steps is the proven path to successful design. SameX builds on this very approach and extends success of one product to others in way that ensures unity of experience.

 Cost benefits

Another great outcome using this approach is the cost saving. We have seen our clients saving up to 30% in design and development costs.

Persistent is currently working with several clients on this solution and implementing SameX with success. We feel that this is extremely relevant in today’s world where ‘product takeovers’ is business as usual and newer additions to the product family opens up the challenge of creating an experience that is consistent with other products in the family. Ultimately, it is all about making the end users effective, efficient and delighted with lower cost of design and development.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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