So naturally we delayed the go-live date several weeks to give us time to fix the usability issues.
Hah! That'll be the day!
We went live, celebrated the launch, and then spent the next couple of years training our customer service reps to respond to complaints while we built the next round of products. Last I checked we were hoping to fix the problem "in an upcoming release tbd."
It will be a watershed day when we do actually delay a go-live date in order to fix a usability problem. It will be a sign that we've finally figured out how to get the fastest return on investment.
I contend that the faster we rush to market with poor UX, the longer it will take us to get our money's worth out of the product. The easiest time to fix a user experience and fix it fast is before going live. Certainly it's important, critical even, to optimize the experience once the product is live, but basic usability problems in a production environment take a whole lot longer to fix than the same problems before going live. Before going live, there's a magic combination of:
- a focused team, deeply familiar with the product
- an intensity in the drive to completion that this product will most likely will never see again
- few or no encumbrances related to an existing user base already familiar with a flawed product
Principle #1: Business value derives from, and is usually dependent on, a great user experience.This all leads to...
Principle #2: Rushing to go live with a deeply flawed product delays the release of a user experience that will produce the business value we're funded to produce.That's what makes the UX vs. time-to-market argument a false tradeoff. One sign of a maturing organization is a willingness to delay go-live in order to fix a bad user experience.
Of course, a sign of an even more mature organization is to never have to act on that willingness, because we never get close to our go-live date before discovering and fixing the user experience. So that brings us to...
Principle #3: The way to make "Principle #2" moot is to deeply engage with users from the very beginning.