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The Case for Looking Beyond UX

July 6, 2018 - Vishnudatta K Principal Consultant, Infosys Finacle

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Before we proceed further, first let me clarify what I mean by BX and UX. BX – Business eXcellence and UX – we all know it, User eXperience.
UX as far as I remember became a trending term once the world got to experience Apple products, not that it didn’t exist before, but it was not a selling point until then (more on this at: https://medium.com/@marcintreder/the-history-of-user-experience-design-5d87d1f81f5a ).
If I am writing this blog to share my views with the world and then if I write what I want to write and in a manner that is ok for me and heed least consideration to readers of this blog, then it is an antithesis for UX!.
For some time, we also struggled to understand the difference between UI (User Interface) and UX, as many felt that there was no difference and then some felt a more appealing UI is UX.
Nowadays, UX is not just a selling point, but it is a hygiene, it is a design philosophy and users are drawn to products primarily because of UX.
Hence, naturally whole world is gaga over UX and we now have UX specialists/designers as integral part of product design.
Are we too hooked onto UX, is UX overhyped, are we overtly obsessed with UX?, let’s see.
Traditionally we have been taught to solve problems and we just do that often paying no regard to the user for whom we are solving the problem.
To me UX is a thought (not an afterthought!), designing with the user at the center of the thought.
Ideally as very few would appreciate, acknowledge and practice – UX, is an all-encompassing experience that an end user of a product/service has got to do with anything/everything around that product/service. If I design something without empathizing for the You in UX or if the You in UX is different from me who is designing it for you, then it is all mixed-up.
But then, let’s face it – why are we creating a great UX? whom are we really creating this UX for?
To me, let truth be told, this UX which we claim to design for the end user, is actually we are doing it for ourselves – the ones who own the product/services, because at the end of it, we are doing it to increase business excellence, revenue, profitability!
As mentioned earlier, UX is an all-encompassing experience which focuses on creating a frictionless, personalized, uncluttered experience but the underlying principle is – this is all done so that – we don’t lose a customer to rival, we increase customer loyalty, we make customer feel how important they are for us and ultimately, we want more business from this customer.

Let me explain this with couple of examples:

We all have seen how banks/ FinTechs are alluring customers by providing option to aggregate all our financial instruments and provide a personalized dashboard to help get better at PFM- Personal Finance Management, oh really? . Well, truth is , this is a Google like strategy being adopted, as data is new fuel so that banks/FinTechs then can suggest/prompt/push for their products for an even better PFM!
Uber is next, we all hear it whenever we talk about digital disruptors, future business models etc., Here again, Uber definitely has redefined UX, but through an innovative business model and it is that business model which is drawing people to it. Thin line, but I will still give it to the underlying business model which is truly the disruptor.
One of the best ways to explain how BX is the under current in creating a superlative UX is – take a look at the experience offered to a business class ticket to that of an economy class ticket in an aero plane. Though I have never experienced a business class ticket so far, but have at least read about it and economy class, I know it all too well! Thanks to these airlines, we can clearly understand even in a mass industry like airlines, UX is directly proportional to business being offered.
You know the routine, as it is customary with my every other blog, I need to touch upon banking in some or the other way and here it is. In last 5 to 8 years, we have seen the emergence of new types of banks, FinTechs which are posing challenge to traditional banks, though not in terms of direct business, but to their traditional thinking. One of the key shifts in focus for traditional banks has been their new found love towards UX. Every discussion, decision is incomplete without UX being the focal point of all effort which no doubt is good.

But I make three observations here:

  • Due to the focus on UX, development work, time to market seems to have been increased

  • Without a structural change in the culture of the bank, ads/marketing effort which doesn’t find a place in overall servicing, is leaving customers more dissatisfied than earlier

  • UX at the end of it is still largely a perspective and thanks to technology, each experience has a very short shelf life. Hence, more the effort, time, money invested in perfecting UX, to me appears like a never ending exercise.

What would be a good UX for me with my bank will be – keeping it simple, being available when I need it, where I need, how I need it and finally, just take care of my money and help me grow it. I don’t really care what UX guideline, principle you follow or preach, don’t spend millions of rupees on that and then produce an abysmal quarterly result. Let your focus be on improving business efficiency, operational efficacy as these things hurt me more than you not giving me an Apple like experience!
Not everyone can be good at everything, but you are a specialist or good at something, then you better retain that and that’s what I expect from my bank, to be fundamentally good at banking and if you can make overall experience better, then I won’t mind that!

Vishnudatta K

Principal Consultant, Infosys Finacle

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2 thoughts on “The Case for Looking Beyond UX

  • Kudos Vishnu. Blog clearly bring out the reality. One has to be detached to the goal to reach the goal. Ironical though, to reach our goal of great customer experience, too much focus on UX is not leading towards the goal. I think we have to listen more to our customer untold words to reach the goal of great customer experience.

  • Great read. Loved the Airplane analogy to imply the importance of BX

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