Our UX Designer Has Two Quick Questions

1. What is the job that this person needs to do?

2. How can I make that job as efficient as possible?

Designing simple, accessible, and enjoyable user experiences takes diligence. And at Command Alkon, we start this thorough process by answering these two questions.

As a Sr. UX Designer at Command Alkon, Dylan Cohen answers these questions by asking lots of other questions. He’s researching everything he can about user behaviors, patterns, and how they apply to a software’s usability. Once he’s learned everything that goes into completing a job — like ordering a load of concrete — he’ll then move on to ramp up efficiency. 

It’s important though, that despite the speed of getting projects out the door, the UX team must take the time to remove any biases and check that user and customer needs are met. And don’t forget about “featuritis,” which can plague organizations if they add disproportionally complex features and potentially confuse or devalue a product’s original purpose and design. Focusing on features that only apply to a small number of people can have an unanticipated impact on a product’s ease of use. As Dylan builds upon robust solutions, he’s simultaneously working to preserve their true functional cores.

  1. What is the job that this person needs to do?

In our industry, answering this question requires seeing that job in action. What better way to truly understand a process than to watch it in the field? Meeting directly with end users to observe how they use the Command Alkon suite is integral — without incorporating this raw customer feedback, we would be challenged to adequately respond to customers’ needs.

Throughout their sessions, the UX team tracks quantitative data like “overall satisfaction out of 10,” or how long it takes to complete a given task. They track qualitative data, too, so that they can answer questions like “why do you love or hate something?” But as you may imagine, qualitative reactions can be difficult to record with just words. That’s why documenting pauses and facial expressions gives Dylan and the UX team extra context behind user preferences. This integral blend of data is then combed and analyzed before acting on any solution. Although, it didn’t take Dylan long to become inspired by all the opportunities presented in these sessions.

Shortly after Dylan first began with Command Alkon, he attended the company’s national user conference, Elevate, to see live customer training sessions. Absorbing industry information from long-time dispatch teams, he began drafting early UX concepts for Dispatch, Command Alkon’s centralized cloud dispatching solution. Having learned directly from dozens of customers, Dylan was able to create the foundation of what Dispatch looks like today.

  1. How can I make that job as efficient as possible?

Dylan comes into play at many different project phases — whether it’s at a project’s infancy or by the time the development team is ready to put finishing touches on the solution. Along the way, external factors may pop up and limit his work to certain system restrictions. But to start his process, Dylan doesn’t even consider the bounds of a tech stack. It can be daunting to think of all these other factors at first, he says, but if he has something in his head, he’s going to put it out there.

Dylan is looking to boost visibility. A newly released product feature may provide a customer with clearer dispatch communication, but what good is that feature if customers can’t find it? If they did know of the feature, would they use it? Visibility comes with a balance, though. Too much information becomes overwhelming and hard to navigate. So instead of cluttering visual space with any available information, Dylan and his team focus on making sure key visuals get the attention they need. What makes a visual key? That’s where the research comes in.

All on board with UX

A big reason Command Alkon prioritizes UX design — is to reduce the learning curve for our customers’ employees, allowing them to quickly grasp a software's functionalities and start using it effectively. In the heavy building materials industry, time is one of a business’s most precious commodities. So naturally, one of the biggest deterrents for companies looking to implement new software is the time that it takes to get employees up to speed on a new system.

This is why, on top of providing a user interface that’s cleaner and easier to navigate, Dylan and his team work to deliver easy-to-understand instructions and interactive tutorials.

Still, sometimes the best approach isn’t to design a completely new user interface. For one solution in particular – Command Alkon Dispatch – Dylan needed to preserve the familiarity that customers have with their existing dispatch products by leveraging the same tracking screen they’ve used for years. This approach saves time and resources by avoiding a complete overhaul while still delivering significant usability improvements. It also ensures users can easily adapt to the updated version, reducing the learning curve and potential resistance to change.

Why UX anyway?

User experience is more than a box that gets checked off. At Command Alkon, we’re committed to gathering the research needed to support our customers’ needs and concerns.  UX is instrumental in our continuous mission to save people time in an industry where every second matters.

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