Q&A with Andy Van Fleet of Visual Logic
The UI/UX Track is new to the 2019 Iowa Technology Summit. What are you most looking forward to?
As companies are making the shift toward being more focused on human-centered design, I’m really looking forward to the meaningful dialogs that will occur at the summit around this topic. Today’s customers have very high expectations when it comes to human centered design, and some of Iowa’s best companies are doing a great job of putting their users at the center of their strategies.
Why was it important for Visual Logic to sponsor the UI/UX track?
We are so excited that the Iowa Technology Summit opened a track on the UI/UX topic, and we’re honored to sponsor it. At Visual Logic, we’ve been pioneering UX solutions for over 20 years. In the beginning, the conversation around the value of UX began with a lot of education. Today’s UX conversation is a much easier one, as thriving companies understand the value of great user experience. The summit will be a perfect place to further the UX conversation that will allow Iowa companies to bring world class products to market.
When you first sit down with a client, what is the process to understand their needs or what data and testing go into a successful UX project?
The first two stages in our UX process revolve around strategy and research. Strategy involves leadership and decision makers from the client. Research involves end users of the products in which we are going to design UX solutions. Our initial approaches in Strategy and Research include asking a lot of questions, observing end-users, and helping leadership to gain a common vision. In these phases of the UX process, we see our roles as a “facilitator” where our goal is to ensure the business vision is in alignment with user needs. That is the foundation of building successful UX solutions.
How do you educate businesses on the value of investing in UI/UX?
A lot of studies have been conducted on expensive rework and unhappy end-users when UX is not at the forefront of product design. Those studies determined that a product in the marketplace with little-to-no UX consideration will end up costing the company 10x to 100x in additional rework. An investment in UX throughout a project lifecycle will save companies money AND create engaged users. Educating companies on the value of UX has become second nature, as they usually see it as a win-win.
Can you give us an example of an interesting project you’ve recently worked on?
We have recently been working with a military contractor called SRC, Inc. from Syracuse, NY. The project we’re focused on is a Counter-UAS (Unmanned Aerial Surveillance) system. The system is used to detect drones in a protected area. Incredibly smart engineers developed the interface, but it is not intuitive, and soldiers are having a hard time using the system. We have been engaged to create a much better user experience that will drastically increase the soldiers’ situational awareness while decreasing their cognitive load.
From your perspective, what questions should businesses be asking themselves for their user interface and user experience design?
The best questions a business could ask around the UX of their products should typically be directed towards their end-users. For example, those questions would include; What are your goals? What tools are you using to help you meet those goals? What tools are you using that inhibit those goals? What shortcuts do you use? What motivates you to use this technology?