Explore the Future of the Web

Introducing UX to Decade Old Applications

Matt Lavoie

User centered design has gained a lot of traction, and great success has been seen by tightly integrating it into the development lifecycle of new products. There is a wealth of information about UX in the startup world, but what about for those of us working on decade old applications? Well old dogs can learn new tricks.

This talk will dive headfirst into three topics that will help pull you out of the world of unplanned checkboxes and confusing screens:

  1. Proving the value of UX for products that have found reasonable success without it. You may be familiar with the phrase, “What got you here won't get you there,” made popular by Marshall Goldsmith’s executive leadership growth books. The same advice can be given to your application. The difficult part, of course, is helping leaders and executives see the problem as well. No parent wants to hear that their child is beating up other kids (or your users) on the playground.
  2. How to decide where to start. There is so much out there, and with so many things to work on it can be easy to thrash on ideas, get lost, and not get much of anything done. This is the time to focus and plan. You don’t need to do everything tomorrow, you just need to start. And often, the right small change can have the biggest impact.
  3. The dos and don’ts of disruption through change. If your product is ten years old, you probably have users who have been with it for that long as well. But for these late adopters stuck in the land of old browsers, as well as for your newer users, it is important that a change to the experience doesn’t pull the rug out from under their feet. This is especially critical if they depend on your software to do their job. Sometimes disruption is unavoidable, but there are ways to work within constraints to move your product towards a better experience without leaving your users behind.

Much of this talk will be sharing anecdotal evidence and advice straight from experience in these trenches. And though it is from the perspective of an older product, if you work in a younger app or even a start up this talk might help you avoid these issues before you have them.

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